Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • GOPe • Post • Republicans

T’was a Nice Republic, While It Lasted

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On or around 9 a.m. EST, on July 24, 2019, as a gentle breeze wafted over the gingerly groomed Kentucky bluegrass grounds of the National Mall, the great God-Emperor of American Justice himself—Robert Swan Mueller III—descended, like Moses from Mount Sinai or Zeus from Mount Olympus. Downward he came from his lofty perch in the heavenlies, whence the right judgments of his all-knowing, unbiased and perfectly objective mind emanate like piercing UV rays of legal wisdom from the sun itself.

Why were we blessed with this spectacular, once in a lifetime visitation, which only a few million eyes have seen?

As the media mavens breathlessly informed us, over and over again, Lord Mueller was summoned to appear in deceptively frail human form to converse with his humble servants (i.e., congressional House Democrats) about his most recent, and apparently final, infallible encyclical on the serious matter of Russia’s successful attempt to install Donald J. Trump as president and personal sock-puppet to Vladimir Putin—thereby denying the Oval Office the graces of its rightful heir and pre-ordained occupant, Madam Secretary Hillary! Rodham Clinton.

Lord Mueller assured everyone that CrowdStrike was correct: Putin achieved this dastardly feat of WikiLeaks hacking and stole the American presidential election by: a) running a couple thousand dollars worth of ads on Facebook; b) somehow guessing that John Podesta’s email password was “password”; and c) somehow getting into the former secretary of state’s basement where she kept her private unsecured email server—no matter what Ellen Ratner says Julian Assange told her directly, and despite not ever having had either servers in the FBI’s chain of custody.

To lend Mueller’s definitive analysis even more credibility, the very Democrat attorney who represented Clinton’s former IT guy (who at Clinton’s direction allegedly wiped her server clean of any evidence) was sworn in with Mueller. This same attorney, the Democrats were relieved to hear, also ran the special counsel’s day-to-day affairs while Lord Mueller apparently was napping most of the time. But for Lord Mueller’s assurances, there were absolutely no conflicts of interest in any of this, this fact might otherwise have been mildly concerning, even to CNN legal analysts, who were busy organizing impeachment parties before the hearing started.

In any event, the assembled patron saints of congressional districts from sea to shining sea had been entrusted, by virtue of this divine commission, the great task of explaining to the boobery in red-state flyover country why—despite the apparent lack of any actual evidence of collusion, conspiracy, or whatever—and a terribly confusing explanation from Lord Mueller himself as to why he was (uncharacteristically) unwilling to make a prosecutorial decision at all about obstruction of justice—it is nonetheless their somber and sublime duty to impeach the duly elected president, Donald J. Trump. And, as a bonus, they must hang him high for treason (something to do with building hotels before he became president), too.

After all, Lord Mueller pronounced Trump “not exonerated,” and as everyone knows, the presumption in America has always been that Republican presidents must prove their innocence beyond any reasonable or unreasonable doubt whatsoever, and be subjected to endless accusation and systematic investigation until they resign, or are impeached, or at least are not re-elected.

Various sundry hoi polloi and their rabble-rousers (i.e., congressional House Republicans) also attended, to maintain the illusion that what was going on was somehow vaguely connected to the Constitution; but Mueller rightly paid them no mind. Instead, he cleverly Jedi mind-tricked them into repeating their questions several times over the course of nearly half their allotted time, and otherwise encouraged them to use the rest of their allotted minutes talking to his trembling right hand. Apparently, his hand had nothing to say, either.

He was, in short, having none of their impertinent inquiries into his staff deliberations, reasons for declining to prosecute implicated Democrats, decisions to arrest and torture others he wished to see punished, why he only looked into one side of his remit and studiously ignored the other, and other such off-topic desiderata that might actually have boosted the spectacle’s ratings.

To be sure, there was no way the majority was going to insist he lower himself and be subjected to mere mortal standards of under-oath testimony—which is to say, Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) were not going to allow much less compel him to be seriously cross-examined, or even frisked. No. That they will reserve for the likes of the fiendish (not to mention suspiciously hot) Hope Hicks.

All in all, Mueller’s testimony amounted to a dreadfully dull affair in which any discerning patriot would realize that all these endless XYZ-gates and their interminable special investigations have achieved is to flip every principle we say we stand for upside-down in the bloodlust for partisan electoral advantage.

T’was a nice republic, while it lasted. Requiescat In Pace.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

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2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Featured Article • GOPe • Great America • Republicans

Confessions of a Recovering Neoconservative

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The realignment of the political Right has prompted a public confessional of sorts, a raw acknowledgement that millions of us were led astray by Republiican leaders we trusted, we voted for, and we defended during times of war. We only have ourselves to blame, of course, because we did it with our eyes wide open. But the Trump era is forcing many Republicans to reexamine what we once believed and reassess what actually is true.

In a fiery speech earlier this month at the National Conservatism conference in Washington, D.C., Fox News host Tucker Carlson talked about purging his “mental attic” to dust off the ideas that he had accepted as legitimate over past few decades.

“The Trump election was so shocking . . . that it did cause some significant percentage of people to say ‘wait a second, if that can happen, what else is true?’” Carlson said. “Just look around . . . who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? A lot of the people we’ve been told are good guys are not. Some of them are the worst guys. I’ll let you figure out who.”

Carlson didn’t need to name names because the conservatives in the room, I assume, envisioned pretty much the same collection of bad guys—and they aren’t on the Left.

For the most part, the list would include Republican villains such as Bill Kristol, Carlson’s former boss at the now-defunct Weekly Standard, and a number of other conservative commentators still clinging to the mantras that afford them their sinecures; Bush family members and certain administration officials; former Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and the late John McCain; former Republican congressional leaders such as ex-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan; and an assortment of well-heeled donors.

They populate most of the Beltway clique of once-influential thought and political leaders who controlled the Republican Party for more than two decades and whose collective incompetence, arrogance, and intellectual torpor resulted in their ouster in the form of Donald Trump’s election on November 8, 2016.

In fact, Carlson’s Trump-inspired epiphany echoed my own internal thoughts during much of the conference—thoughts I’ve had consistently over the past three years—but in my head have been far more harsh than Carlson’s public musings. Others shared similar reflections about both the people and the policies they once were loyal to. As I’ve purged my own mental attic of alleged truisms and political heroes since November 2016, here is what I often think:

You idiot. How dumb could you be? How could you have been duped by these frauds for so long?

Like millions of Republicans, especially those of us who once considered ourselves to be neoconservatives before watching the public meltdown of our one-time heroes into a molten pool of pathetic and sniveling NeverTrump Republicans, the presidency of Donald Trump has forced me to reckon with my own political stupidity and gullibility. Not only was my faith placed in the hands of self-serving and fundamentally dishonest people, I now realize that in trusting them, I unwittingly defended misguided policies that have wreaked havoc on large swaths of the country.

When I first started out in politics in the early 1990s, a few years after I graduated from college, Kristol and his fellow neoconservative headmasters were my political idols. I was “squishy,” as Kristol once put it, on immigration and nodded my head in agreement with those who argued non-Americans would do the work that Americans wouldn’t. After all, who else would happily staff our restaurants and stock our grocery stores and fertilize our lawns while keeping the costs cheap? It’s a win-win for everyone!

Free trade opened up new markets for American goods around the world, there could be no downside. American companies owed us nothing, and if they decided to move jobs and resources and tax dollars to a more hospitable country, welp, that’s laissez-faire economics, folks! If you got hooked on drugs or stuck in a low-wage job or trapped in a decaying industrial town, that was your own damn fault. You should have been more ambitious, anyway.

Nation-building in the Middle East at the expense of American soldiers from the Midwest was the only way to defend our sovereignty and secure our future. Of course U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators in any country. Of course the war would end quickly. No, Colin Powell and Dick Cheney would never mislead us about weapons of mass destruction.

That, and more, was my political mindset for more than two decades. I defended broad policies bolstered by platitudes and endorsed by my “Conservative Betters” without taking a moment to consider the long-term consequences or measure their outcomes. Why quibble about the details when you have all of “The Smart People” on your side? I mean, Bill Kristol was on TV!

In the end, being a neoconservative meant having no skin in the game. You could push for war in other countries because it wasn’t your child who would be deployed. You could argue in favor of “free trade” because your company wasn’t relocating overseas. You could support unfettered immigration because foreigners weren’t taking your job and probably wouldn’t compete with your children when the time came. You could ignore the influx of illegal drugs or the shuttering of manufacturing plants or rising white illegitimacy rates because none of it was happening in your suburb or the tony enclave of your city.

It didn’t matter if none of it really worked in practice as long as it worked in theory.

Meanwhile, those policies that sounded so good in theory from my comfortable environs were hammering Middle America. Simmering rage about the consequences of illegal immigration went unnoticed. Drug abuse soared as illicit narcotics and prescription painkillers, unrestrained by government action or political attention, flooded blighted communities. Unfair trade agreements robbed farmers and steelworkers and small business owners of profit. Still, neoconservatives clung to their vaunted yet vague “principles” as they sneered and looked the other way.

And that’s how we got Trump, as they say.

Now, thanks to Trump’s ascendance, we know why neoconservatives ignored the plight of their less fortunate countrymen: They hold them in contempt. Neocon NeverTrumpers have ridiculed Trump supporters as unsophisticated, racist rubes incapable of independent thought who blindly following the lead of their Bad Orange Master. Kristol said in 2017 that white, working-class Americans were “decadent, lazy, [and] spoiled.” He even accused Carlson, his one-time protégé, of being a white nationalist.

As they pivot away from positions they once claimed to hold, vanquished neoconservatives offer nothing in the way of “conservative” alternatives to Trumpism, just the same stale mantras about free trade and virtuous illegal immigration and the “free market.” Those leaders who once insisted America wage any number of wars securing borders in foreign lands and sold to us as protecting the “national interest” now rage about the sinister roots of Trump-afflicted “nationalism” and complain about those who insist we secure our own borders.

I’m not the only recovering neoconservative with regrets. Norman Podhoretz, one of the original architects of neoconservatism, also has second thoughts about the last couple decades. He has reconsidered his previous adherence to once defining tropes about conservatism, particularly those about trade and immigration.

“The idea that we’re living in a free trade paradise was itself wrong . . . there was no reason to latch onto it as a sacred dogma,” Podhoretz admitted in an April 2019 interview, “And that was true of immigration. I was always pro-immigration because I’m the child of immigrants. So I was very reluctant to join in Trump’s skepticism about the virtues of immigration. What has changed my mind about immigration now—even legal immigration—is that our culture has weakened to the point where it’s no longer attractive enough for people to want to assimilate to, and we don’t insist that they do assimilate.”

That is one reason why the current transformation of the Republican Party will outlive Donald Trump. Yes, the figureheads have changed, but so too have the policy priorities and the views of many rank-and-file Republicans. As we look around at the smoldering debris left behind by a “conservatve” political class that has been inattentive—even hostile—to the basic well-being of so much of the American middle class which is and must be the heart and soul of American society and culture, we know that there is no turning back to the era of selective ignorance and deference to rarified political pedigree.

And the “bad guys” should never be allowed to regain a position of influence again.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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GOPe • Post • Republicans

Stiffening the Backbone of the Right

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Many people seem surprised that CNN gave a platform to white-supremacist Richard Spencer this week. They angrily decry the outrageous hypocrisy of the Left putting Spencer on the national airwave when it routinely de-platforms those on the Right for far less than giving voice to self-avowed neo-Nazis. But why? Don’t you know the rules?

You know—the rules the Left is used to making, and the rules the “kept Right” is used to keeping. Did you actually think any of what is going on in Big Tech is really about stopping radical hate and violence? If that were true, all the folks from Antifa praising their terrorist lunatic who tried to shoot up a government facility this week would be de-platformed. Don’t hold your breath.

The Left demands that every elected Republican official publicly apologize for a some nutjob murderer in New Zealand, but do you think that means Leftists have to apologize for Antifa’s “principled” domestic terrorism against journalists and government buildings here at home? Pfft. What are you, a racist?

Spencer was deemed useful to pronounce Trump’s tweets racist. He quickly went on to complain that Trump has done nothing for white nationalists, contradicting the media narrative that Trump is somehow serving their interests, before CNN cut the interview.

But his job was done.

CNN doesn’t care about how gross it is that they gave him a platform. Spencer is now their little pet—their weapon to de-platform others, their new patsy they can trot out at will to say what they need him to say while cutting whatever’s inconvenient.

But, you object, how can avowed racists be treated as indisputable judges of what is racist and what is not? Aren’t we told daily that racist microaggressions are committed by those who think they aren’t racist?

Shut up, bigot. Learn the rules.

Yes, Democratic lawmakers can’t discipline their arrogant little children when they spout off nasty, anti-Semitic comments. And they don’t have to.

They don’t have to worry about making outright anti-Semitic remarks, or about outright racist remarks concerning “whiteness” being intrinsically evil, and hating it. You, however, better start worrying and apologizing for microaggressions of which you aren’t even aware and for distant ancestors you never knew.

They don’t have to resign from their governorship for posting KKK and blackface pictures as some kind of a sick joke when they got out of medical school. You’re a racist because you voted for President Trump in 2016. You’re a racist for even thinking about voting for him in 2020.

The mainstream media outlets don’t have to apologize for wild conspiracy theories that terrify half the nation, willingly concocted and spread in partnership with government officials against the opposing party. You have to apologize for not believing them.

They don’t have to apologize for spreading insane stories about how Justice Kavanaugh was a serial gang rapist. But you, well—you better #BelieveAllWomen.

Their professors don’t quiver in fear that fellow academics will find out their true views like conservative ones do, even though such views are shared by half the nation and billions of Christians throughout the world. No, their “serious intellectuals” gleefully publish trashy, non-scholarly articles bashing half the country as racist fascists from their cushy academic perches without thinking twice, and mock the Christian faith with impunity.

They don’t have to worry about making careful edits or quadruple checking their numbers or about facing protest and backlash if they conduct academic studies on controversial topics. They’re on the right side of history. You’re not.

They will discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, religion, and political views as they please. You, on the other hand, better not. They don’t have to worry about their schools or businesses getting shut down. You do.

They don’t have to worry that calling a man a man or a woman a woman will get their social media accounts banned. You do. What are you, one of those bigoted, evil people who thinks men can’t get pregnant and unborn babies are human beings? You’re anti-science.

They don’t have to worry about the respectability of their publications if they associate with wild conspiracy theorists. They put batshit crazy charts worthy of the most rabid Q-anon follower in prominent places within prestigious pages.

These fundamentalist zealots have turned our public square into the show trial court of the woke inquisition, replete with the choice between public confession and the guillotine of unpersoning. But the media is not your priest, and the public square is not a court of law. Stop playing their game.

At some point, you will need to join the rest of us and wake up. That’s right. Get woke.

Study up on the systemic problem of identity politics and political correctness. Learn how it threatens America and has become its own religion. Listen and consider its bigotry, racism, and hatred of Americanism—and begin calling the Left out on it.

Proclaim what Abraham Lincoln called the central principle of American political thought: that at the fundamental level of being, all people are created equal, according to the laws of nature and nature’s God.

Proclaim, as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King did, that we ought to judge others not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

And let ’em beclown themselves by calling that racist.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

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Congress • Conservatives • GOPe • Post • Republicans • Technology

Mike Lee Backs Big Tech Crony Capitalism

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U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) has long warned against the dangers of crony capitalism, which he defines as “an unholy union of big government, big business, and big special interests that twists public policy to benefit Washington insiders unfairly at the expense of everyone else.”

But last week, Lee spoke in favor of a dubious immigration bill, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, which would give special privileges to Big Tech—no doubt the biggest beneficiaries of this “unholy union.”

The bill would scrap country caps on immigration visas and allow a few nationalities to take the lion’s share of visas. Lee said the bill was necessary to make the immigration system “fairer.”

“These per-country caps cause serious problems for American businesses and workers, and unfair hardship for immigrants stuck in the backlog,” Lee argued.

The businesses that have “serious problems” are tech giants, which rely heavily on foreign labor. Silicon Valley’s workforce is dominated by foreign workers. Sure enough, FWD.us—a lobbying group funded by executives from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and other Silicon Valley monopolies—tweeted out Lee’s speech, adding “This legislation is vital.”

Seventy-one percent of tech workers in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay area are foreigners. The Lee-sponsored bill would drive those numbers even higher as Big Tech would be allowed to recruit even more foreign workers.

Big Tech embodies crony capitalism. Tech giants receive billions of dollars in government subsidies and maintain powerful lobbying arms to protect their interests. This is one industry that should draw Lee’s ire. Instead, he is one of Big Tech’s biggest champions.

Lee claims the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act would make the system fairer, but it would do no such thing. It would reserve nearly all of our green cards for just a few nationalities. According to one estimate, Indians would obtain at least 75 percent of all employment-based visas under Lee’s proposal.

More importantly, the bill is unfair to American workers who would like good jobs with good wages. The bill directs those good jobs to foreign workers who don’t require a fair wage. If passed, expect lobbyists from other industries and countries to demand they get more visas as well.

The good news, for the moment, is Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), another vocal critic of crony capitalism, blocked Lee’s bill. This may be a temporary hindrance, but it is reassuring that at least one critic of crony capitalism votes his principles.

The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act is only the latest example of the conservative senator’s preference for the industry’s interests. Over the past few months, Lee has opposed antitrust investigations against Big Tech. In a March op-ed, Lee argued “antitrust law” is not the answer to Big Tech’s problems. In early 2018, Lee debated Fox News host Tucker Carlson about what to do with Google. Tucker argued that the state would be justified in regulating Google. Lee dismissed Tucker’s concerns about Google’s censorship and said the state is the real problem. The senator said the right way to fight back against Google was to “use another search engine.”

Fortunately, new senators such as Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) are willing to stand up to Silicon Valley’s agenda, though they haven’t spoken out against the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act yet.

Lee used to critique Google’s power and its ability to manipulate the market. But those days seem long gone when he promotes Big Tech’s immigration priorities on the Senate floor.

Photo Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

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Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Education • GOPe • Post • Republicans • The Left

All Out of Bootstraps

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Somewhere along the line, the Republican Party earned itself the moniker of the “Stupid Party.” It has become painfully obvious, for example, that most congressional Republicans don’t want to repeal Obamacare. “And if that is the case,” as Byron York wisely asks, “the question is, why are Republicans trying?” Well, for show, naturally; but also, because they are either generally out of touch as a party, or actually benefit from not resolving issues that hurt everyday Americans, while claiming to want to solve them for appearances and votes.

The same principles apply to their failure to restrict immigration, and to their tax cuts—which, though purportedly intended to help Middle America the most, in reality were a far better deal for their corporate paymasters, many of whom used the windfall for things like stock buybacks rather than, say, hiring.

Now the Stupid Party seems determined to live up to its soubriquet on yet another issue.

Chiming in on the student-loan debt cancellation craze, Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) has only bland orthodoxy to offer. “When you say #cancelstudentdebt,” he wrote on Twitter, “you’re saying a minority of people who had the advantage of obtaining a degree should have their debt paid off by hardworking taxpayers, 2/3 of whom don’t have degrees themselves, or already paid their own student debt off.”

There is nothing inherently wrong with what Crenshaw says here. And, certainly, individuals who major in multicultural basket weaving invite financial woes after graduation. But student-loan debt is a real problem. If one does not find his or her calling in a trade, one is faced with a growing number of entry- and mid-level jobs requiring a degree than ever before; nine in 10 jobs created in 2017 went to people with a college degree.

In all, 44.7 million Americans shoulder student loan debt, according to a 2018 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Total student loan debt topped $1.47 trillion as of the end of 2018—dwarfing auto loans ($1.129 trillion) and credit card debt ($834 billion). Data from the Federal Reserve show the average monthly student loan payment is anywhere between $200 and $300. Not exactly a small chunk of change for most people starting out in life.

The issue does not merely affect young, dumb Millennials either.

Adults 60 and older are the fastest-growing group among student loan debtors, as they struggle to pay off their own loans or, increasingly, take on debt to send their children or grandchildren off to college. Data compiled for the Wall Street Journal by the credit reporting agency TransUnion show “student loan borrowers in their 60s owed $33,800 in 2017,” up 44 percent from 2010. The Journal adds that total student loan debt rose 161 percent “for people aged 60 and older from 2010 to 2017—the biggest increase for any age group, according to the latest data available from TransUnion.”

Crenshaw’s error, then, is an unwillingness—all too typical among Republicans—to cough up anything more than platitudes. For one reason or another, when faced with real issues and the revolutionaries who would exploit them, Republicans just reach back to recycled formulas and slogans that do not bother to account for new realities.

An Opportunity Not to be Missed
Senators Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), socialists in arms, have offered to cancel all or most student-debt, respectively. Just about any “solution” proposed by the Left, however, would create more problems than it would solve—in much the same way that the student-loan “debt bomb” was triggered by the federal intervention in the form of student-loan programs that have been very good for loan-servicing companies, college administrators, and tenured professors but not so good for students who are often cheated out of genuine education and then saddled with debt on top of it.

Republicans should not quit the field on this issue, if for no other reason than that those who attack the culture and have turned America’s young people into rabid leftists benefit from this scheme most of all.

Anthony Esolen recalls events on the day after the 2016 election in Ohio, when an Oberlin College student tried to steal wine from Gibson’s Bakery. “One of the workers at the bakery confronted him,” Esolen writes, “and a scuffle ensued both inside and outside the store, with the worker as the victim on the ground, pummeled by the perpetrator and a male friend of his, and kicked by two women, as some members of the fair sex are wont to do when their persons are not at risk.”

In the aftermath, Oberlin College went to war with the middle-class owners of Gibson’s Bakery. Oberlin’s dean of students distributed propaganda accusing the owners of racism. “She led a massive protest against the bakery, a protest that was cast entirely in the light of the recent election,” writes Esolen. “The school ordered its food supplier to cancel all contracts with them. Gibson’s, which has been a fixture in town for more than 130 years, lost business which they never recovered.” Oberlin is among America’s most expensive colleges, while the average salary of a dean there is $90,000.

Fortunately for the Gibson family, a judge and jury awarded them $25 million in punitive damages in their defamation case against Oberlin College. If Republicans were smart, they would capitalize on the moment, use it to illustrate how tuition, bloated by federal funding, not only saddles young people with unsustainable debt of questionable merit, but provides the very lifeblood for the cult of diversity that legitimizes the sort of insanity that confronted the Gibsons.

For starters, Republicans could propose an alternative way to deal with out of control student loan debt. They could begin questioning the worth of degrees from institutions such as Oberlin and whether encouraging more citizens to obtain them is actually even in the public interest.

Bankruptcy Revisited
Further, why not undo the damage done by the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) of 2005? That bill, naturally, was signed into law by George W. Bush, and made all education loans non-dischargeable absent a showing of undue hardship. Five years later, the Obama Administration eliminated the federal guaranteed loan program that allowed private lenders to offer loans at low interest rates.

Now only the Department of Education offers such loans, which amounts to a system of debt peonage to the federal government. This is an arrangement more akin to socialism than the “free market” principles for which the GOP claims to stand.

Revisiting BAPCPA could result in a restoration of common sense to the debtor-creditor relationship—it would certainly make lenders less inclined to hand out student-loans like candy. It wouldn’t abolish student-lending outright, but it would have the added effect of reducing the number of young Americans who are indoctrinated into anti-American, anti-Western currents; and, most importantly, the drop-off in enrollments could force students to reevaluate their college decisions and force universities to cut the fat or die, which would likely mean the end of “studies” programs and “diversity” departments that produce nothing of value.

Why not propose amending BAPCPA to allow bankruptcy but call it “loan forgiveness” (under certain circumstances for low income people who are unable to pay) and enact a restructuring of student loans so that colleges are on the hook. A recent audit of California State University revealed a trove of $1.5 billion in discretionary reserves. The university system kept that money hidden away, while raising tuition at its 23 campuses and lobbying for more government funds. They have the hook coming.

Apart from this quasi “loan forgiveness” scheme, why not throw in something like a voucher for trade schools? Create a pathway out of bankruptcy that might soothe, as a friend put it, the “pro-union socialist itch in a pro-America, middle class sort of way.”

Advancing the Bigger Fight
One conceivable response to Republicans taking up this issue might come in the way of Joy Pullman’s latest column for The Federalist, the essence of which is: “The student loan ‘crisis’ is hugely inflated.” But if this “hugely inflated” issue can be turned against Democrats—more broadly, against the Left—and used in our favor, why should we waste the opportunity?

Whether the issue is inflated or not is irrelevant when we consider that by taking it on, Republicans—more broadly, the Right—have a chance to make progress toward other goals we’ve long said we are pursuing but, of course, are goals we’ve mainly only whined about over the years. Now that we have more evidence than ever of the harm it does to the nation’s fabric, isn’t it time to start making headway on the final aim of toppling the subversive academic-industrial complex that is hostile to our way of life?

Universities should be held liable for unpaid loans. Vouchers for trade schools are a good idea. One caveat, perhaps, might be not to grant debt forgiveness to graduate degrees. Graduate students, presumably, are mature and discerning enough to know precisely what they are getting into when they take out loans. Assuming their field is not a worthless one, they will soon earn enough money to repay those loans with ease. If that is not the case, then we should do everything to discourage students from pursuing such frivolous pursuits.

All of this, of course, would only be the beginning, but it would give Republicans ammunition that would distinguish our arguments from the Baby Boomer bromides of long memory. If they haven’t worked so far, why should they be persuasive when conditions on the ground are even more complicated?

Those paying attention know that we are in a political war. Rather than formulating effective strategy in this fight, Republicans tend to abdicate the field to Democrats. The Stupid Party claims to fear socialism, yet does little to stop its ascendancy. It’s almost as if they don’t want to fight, let alone win. It’s time to elect people who have the stomach and the ingenuity to engage in the fight.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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American Conservatism • Conservatives • GOPe • Post • Republicans • The Left

Conservatives, Re-Think Your Giving

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The resurgence of the Right in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan was a sight to behold. The country had just been through a demoralizing period under Carter (no need to re-recite the record) and from those depths emerged opportunity for visionary ideas long espoused by Reagan, Jack Kemp, and others to finally get a true public hearing.

Complementing these men were conservative think tanks who believed in economic prosperity, personal liberty, and a strong national defense. They held glitzy conferences, began their own media entities, delivered sanguine speeches on the doctrine and developed mailing lists to cultivate and stay in contact with their followers and donors. In time, many millions flowed into their coffers from enthusiastic donors large and small.

Fast forward 30 years. By 2010, the country had elected Bill Clinton twice—in large part because of George H.W. Bush’s refusal to carry the Reagan torch—and then President Obama, which could largely be attributed to the wild spending, wandering presidency of George W. Bush. Digging further into the conservative movement as a whole, it had become clear that through the decades its think tanks had devolved into patterns of holding forums that patronized donors but which few paid attention to, writing white papers no one read, chasing five-minute TV appearances that made them feel like someone in Washington, jetting around to self-celebratory conferences at lavish resorts, and basically living high on the cause with little impact and no accountability.

In other words, they weren’t effective. And today they aren’t effective.

If they were effective, they would be attacked relentlessly by the Left and, given their timid posture, all but destroyed. Yet their presidents are regularly paid a salary of $1 million and up, excluding travel budget. They have annual gala dinners with popular cable news pundits to raise the overhead budget, five staffers keep cushy jobs, and the Left continues marching us toward socialism like we aren’t even there.

At a lunch recently, I said to a colleague that if 60 percent of the conservative think tanks in the country disbanded, no one would care. He replied without missing a beat: “No one would notice.”

Exacerbating this ever more glaring fact was the election of President Trump, who has shown the country that politicians and think tank figures who have postured for 30 years about moving mountains for the public on issues of high moment are, for the most part, inept subversives. They weren’t terribly needed and weren’t pioneers at all; they simply glommed on to the success of others who had vision and vigor.

After two recent congressional cycles of Republican consultants scamming donors for millions and conservative thinktanks demonstrating they could do nothing but talk about issues with no means or desire to enact them, Trump became the solution for exasperated donors and voters. This has reduced certain exposed entities to holding what amounts to hustler cruises to help stay afloat, with mutual admiration society “luminaries” no one cares about “starring.” Some, thankfully, have folded.

Compounding these issues are those who run the conservative grantmaking foundations. Some of the Right’s major funders have selected obedient gatekeepers who are maybe 32 years old and quietly can’t believe their own luck having stumbled into such a role. They travel to nice resorts and shake hands but their job is to keep their job. Nothing innovative that might intimidate or make them look bad ever gets upstairs.

Beyond this, there is a certain clique that decides who gets what grant money—even if the money was wasted by an entity the previous year. This is often because there are consultants who specialize in securing this money who have deep relationships with the grantors, and that ox cannot be gored. Is this effective or impacting? Does it help the movement or the goals of the funders? Nyet. But that doesn’t matter. And precious few people know this, especially funders. If some conservative donors knew where a lot of their money went in the think tank world, they would be storming D.C. with pitchforks.

Donors on the Right who came of age in the Reagan era—and future donors—should consider these points as they assess their annual giving, their wills, and the people and projects to whom they give their hard-earned dollars.

“Is my money funding a lawsuit against a corrupt union or 20 spa dates?”

“Are we really moving the ball here or talking as we are overrun by the only people who seem to know we are in a war?”

“Is simply being right on ideas enough anymore?” (No).

There is often a comfort as a funder in giving to what we have become familiar with over the years, especially those where we have fond memories. Case in point would be Reagan-era donors who give lavishly to their alma maters because those years were some of the best of their lives; they do this despite the fact that their old university stomping grounds are now Marxist factories that should be defunded completely.

Some of my friends have stopped giving significant dollars to the University of Southern California given the school’s leadership. It is long past time for conservative funders to do the same with its think tanks and start demanding action and results for their money. Either stop giving or redirect their funds to groups that are taking the fight to the enemy. If Republicans don’t win back the House and there is a moderate Senate after 2020, this will become even more obvious. By 2024, after Trump is gone, those 60 percent of think tanks will be on their way to extinction.

In this age of war and survival, they won’t be missed. Their shopworn appeals will go out to tired donors saying “Help us fight the liberals.” And the donors will finally, wisely respond, “You can’t. Get a job.”

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American Conservatism • Donald Trump • GOPe • Post • Republicans

The Problem With Amash

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Many Republicans and Trump supporters are furious right now with Representative Justin Amash. The Michigan congressman is the only Republican in either house of Congress to call for President Trump’s impeachment in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. The announcement simultaneously made him the most sought-after Republican for interviews, and gave cover for CNN and fellow-travelers to describe the impeachment drive as “bipartisan.”

Matters are only made worse by Amash’s solid voting history on fiscal and civil liberties questions, even when his party has temporized or (in the case of the budget) abandoned reason for expediency. Amash’s adherence to principle on some of these issues serves both to embarrass the party and to make it more difficult to write him off as just another disloyal RINO. (He was a solid NeverTrumper in 2016, however.)

That isn’t to say I don’t have my differences with him, both on policy and politics. He has generally been hostile to Israel, above and beyond what libertarian neo-isolationism would call for. And his exuberant inclusion of Colorado’s Jared Polis in the House Freedom Caucus on the strength of a couple of nice Fourth Amendment votes was ill-advised, to say the least. (Polis is now governor of Colorado.)

But if Amash’s Arab background is the source of his anti-Israel animus, it only discredits his critics who trot it out as a catch-all to dismiss him over Trump and impeachment.

No, the problem with Amash is much simpler. Like many ostentatiously principled elected officials, Amash either fails to recognize or refuses to admit there are many competing principles at work. His choice of what principles matter most have profound political implications.

Let’s assume Amash legitimately believes Trump obstructed justice during the Mueller investigation. Lord knows, Mueller made it clear enough that he thinks so. So it’s not a stretch to assume Amash is acting in good faith. We can agree that obstruction of justice is a serious abuse of executive power, even if we disagree that Trump actually did it.

But there are other potential abuses that Amash chooses to ignore—FISA abuse, spying abuse, manipulating the process through leaks, trying to entrap citizens, politicizing law enforcement and intelligence agencies—abuses that a self-described libertarian should also vociferously oppose. Amash chooses to put those on the back burner to support impeaching the president.

While I can’t speak for how Amash would respond to this, I have seen others respond to the effect that Republicans will have plenty of time and opportunity to air those claims during impeachment hearings.

Such a response is naïve enough to be sincere.

None of those claims has been investigated with anything close to the thoroughness of Mueller’s probe, making it far more difficult for Republicans to raise them effectively. The Justice Department’s inspector general has been looking into certain aspects of those claims, but his scope is limited and he hasn’t the power to compel non-employees to cooperate. John H. Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut assigned to review the origins of the Mueller probe, has a broader portfolio, but not an unlimited one. Certainly, Durham doesn’t have an unlimited budget as Mueller did.

In the meantime, Attorney General William Barr is complaining that he’s got more questions than answers after talking to the Intelligence Community. One would expect a certain amount of institutional loyalty even from Trump appointees, but one would hope that institutional loyalty took the form of concern for institutional integrity. Nevertheless, the various three-letter intel agencies can hide a lot behind classification, making it hard for Barr to know where to pick up the threads and what to declassify.

Finally, there’s a concept of “fruit of a poison tree.” Normally, that’s near and dear to the hearts of civil libertarians. If the whole Mueller probe was a setup, it seriously damages the claim that Trump did anything wrong because he was acting in opposition to a bad-faith investigation. But if Republicans bring up that objection but then can’t make that case, it strengthens the argument for impeachment.

Investigatory neglect also means, with the exception of a few outlets like American Greatness and The Federalist, these facts have been largely neglected or waved off by the press. The public hasn’t been hammered with these details for nearly three years. If anything, these details have been hammered like Hillary Clinton’s old iPhone. Members of the press who weren’t actively complicit in spreading misinformation probably believe it more or less uncritically at this point. Those members of the press who were complicit aren’t going to spend any time uncovering their own malfeasance.

When Nadler brings down the hammer on anyone who dares breathe word outside the very narrow topic of obstruction, for the most part, people won’t know there is another side, and the press won’t be interested in telling them.

Amash ignores all of this by being selectively principled. By doing so, Amash does House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler’s work for him.

And that’s why Republicans, Trump, and his supporters are right to be upset with Amash.

Photo Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

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Administrative State • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Donald Trump • GOPe • Post • Republicans

McConnell’s Senate Uses Subpoena of Don, Jr. to Attack Trump

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When Senator Richard Burr (R.-N.C.) subpoenaed Donald Trump, Jr. to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee which he chairs, he set off a firestorm among Republicans. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has concluded, clearing the president, his family, and his campaign of “collusion” allegations by Democrats and giving Republicans a period of relative peace to regroup, advance the president’s agenda, and prepare for the 2020 elections.

So what’s going on? Why would the Republican-controlled Senate continue to pick at the scab? And why would GOP senators focus their attention on the president’s son of all people? It’s reckless and seems designed to provoke a confrontation with the president.

Much of the attention has focused on Burr, a lame-duck senator who says he isn’t seeking re-election in 2022.

But what about Burr’s boss, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)? McConnell is a savvy operator who rules with an iron fist in a velvet glove, so it would be a stretch to think that Burr did this without McConnell’s blessing.

In fact, while relatively quiet on the subject with the national media, McConnell supported Burr’s action in an interview with Kentucky radio station WHAS. By issuing a subpoena, the Senate chose to use the maximum legal means to compel the appearance of the president’s son. This is an essentially aggressive action.

Bear in mind that Donald Trump, Jr. has spent many hours testifying before Burr’s committee, as well as the House Intelligence Committee and Mueller’s team. It’s not as though they haven’t had ample opportunity to ask Don, Jr. questions over the past two years. So why now and why him?

Senators could have subpoenaed Christopher Steele, author of the discredited dossier that launched the collusion hoax. They could have subpoenaed former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power to ask her about unmasking the names of American citizens and exposing them to years of public abuse.

There are a lot of people from whom the Senate Intelligence Committee might profitably ask some pointed questions. But they didn’t subpoena any of them. They subpoenaed the president’s son. So again, why him and why now?

Fresh Battle in an Old Conflict
My view is that this is part of a cold war between Trump and McConnell that goes back to 2015.

McConnell has never been a Trump supporter. He’s never supported the America First agenda which he has consistently resisted and subverted. McConnell is emblematic of the permanent Washington class who think they can wait out Trump’s presidency, use him to further their own goals, and then return to business as usual.

Look at his track record. McConnell deserves credit for confirming a lot of Trump’s judges. But he’s also delayed confirmation of many of the president’s appointments, including key White House staff. Establishment candidates move swiftly through the Senate while known supporters of the America First agenda languish for months on end. That isn’t an accident.

What else has the Senate done? Tax cuts. And that’s about it. They have fought the president on immigration and border control, on fair trade, and just about everything else, even encouraging the president to take a more interventionist stance in foreign policy.

It’s helpful to consider the subpoena in that context and then perhaps it makes more sense as a signal to the president that McConnell has power and is willing to use it, not just to stymie policy but to harass the president’s family. It’s worth noting that McConnell’s family’s wealth is tied directly to China and he is likely unhappy with the president’s trade policy. It’s good for the country but it might not be so good for the majority leader’s family. (See Peter Schweizer’s book, Secret Empires.)

Which Way, GOP?

Don, Jr. has some options. He could comply with the subpoena, show up, and let Burr—and also a gaggle of hostile Democrats on the committee—have another go at him. Democrats would doubtless use the opportunity to try and entrap him and create a scandal out of whole cloth.

He could also go in and invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination. That is Lindsey Graham’s recommendation. The senator from South Carolina said Trump could “show up and plead the Fifth, and it’s over with.” Not a bad idea, but not ideal either. Pleading the Fifth Amendment if often accompanied by whiff of unconfessed guilt.

Or the Trumps could play to win. Don, Jr. could simply ignore the subpoena. McConnell’s Senate would then be forced either to hold him in contempt of Congress, which would require McConnell’s overt support ever to get to the floor for a vote, or senators would have to concede defeat. That puts a very public, very political burden on McConnell, who would be forced to declare his position for all to see. It’s not without risk, but it could be a very big victory for the president and his son.

There can only be one leader of the Republican Party. McConnell has shown that he is willing to sacrifice GOP victory for personal ambition. Look at how he attacked and ultimately destroyed Representative Mo Brooks (R.-Ala.), a solid Republican, in the 2017 Senate primary in Alabama because he opposed the weak Luther Strange, who was McConnell’s pick. In doing so, McConnell handed the primary victory to Judge Roy Moore—and thus a critical Senate seat to Democrat Doug Jones. It’s an example of a self-interested pol building a competing power structure that undermines the president’s agenda in pursuit of essentially personal, parochial interests. Tolerating that is a good way to lose the White House.

The apparent alliance between McConnell and Burr against Trump is a further skirmish in the ongoing civil war inside the Republican Party. Is it the party of America First or of Bush-era globalism and beautiful losers?

Some Republican senators are unamused. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) put it bluntly, calling the subpoena “overkill” and adding that “It is sort of malicious to bring the president’s family in here and subject them to more interviews.” The subpoena, Paul said, amounts to “overzealous prosecution of the president’s family.”

And he wasn’t alone. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) said, “I can understand his frustration with being asked to come back after having cooperated for such a long period of time and now the Mueller report is concluded, sort of wondering what the purpose of this is.” Echoing Senator Paul’s frustration, Cornyn added, “At some point, this is not about finding facts.”

He’s right. It’s not. It’s inside the Beltway power politics and ultimately about who is in charge of the Republican Party. The president has the whip hand and he should use it.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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Administrative State • Center for American Greatness • Congress • GOPe • Post • Republicans

Senate Republicans Use New Rules to Save a Crony Institution

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After nuking their debate rules for nominations last month for the stated reason that they wanted to push the confirmations of more Republican judges, the Senate this week used the rule change instead to waste precious floor time expanding corporate cronyism.

The Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank for more than 1,000 days has lacked the full quorum of its board of directors, which is necessary to approve taxpayer-funded loans of over $10 million to benefit America’s richest corporations (think Boeing, Caterpillar, and General Electric). The board now has a full slate, and can confirm loans up to $100 million.

The Ex-Im bank, you may recall, loomed large on the Tea Party agenda in 2014 and 2015. It stood as a symbol of everything establishment Washington had gotten wrong: K Street colluding, corporate favoritism, and the general feeling of, “Wait, I’m sorry, my tax dollars do what?”

It’s why many Tea Party conservatives counted the inability of the bank to operate properly as a success, arguing that shelling out millions in taxpayer-backed loans to help some of the richest corporations in the world access “difficult” markets wasn’t a question of national interest.

But the recent inability of the Ex-Im board to waste as much taxpayer money as its mandate allows has provided a good test case, ironically, for why the Export-Import Bank is completely unnecessary.

Its proponents claim we need the bank to support American exports overseas; that without the bank, U.S. exports would crumble. It follows, then, that the bank’s limited capacity since 2015 should have resulted in a sharp fall in U.S. exports.

But research by Mercatus Center scholar Veronique de Rugy shows otherwise. Since 2015, when the Ex-Im board lacked a quorum for loans over $10 million, U.S. exports have not been affected at all. Neither has the U.S. trade balance. In fact, since 2015, the bank showed a 72 percent drop in financing capabilities, only to be met with exports that were $266 billion higher than when Ex-Im’s financing was at its peak.

The total value of U.S. exports has averaged $2.3 trillion annually since 2015—far from the “serious blow to the United States economy” which U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer recently claimed was happening due to the lack of a full functioning bank.

To put this in perspective, consider that Boeing—far and away the largest beneficiary of Ex-Im financing—managed to have its best year ever in 2018 with significantly less support from the U.S. taxpayer.

Of course, now that Boeing’s shares are crashing due to the fact that one of its airplane models keeps . . . well, also crashing, suddenly, it’s become necessary again for the bank’s board to be firing on all cylinders.

Correlation or causation? Your guess is as good as mine.

Lately, Ex-Im advocates have been touting the bank as a “national security weapon,” critical to blunting China’s actions to subsidize their own exports. But, as Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Diane Katz has pointed out, China’s goals are far broader than simply raising its economy through exports. They are also dumping over $1 trillion on “new infrastructure and connectivity across the Indo-Pacific and Eurasian supercontinent.”

Using taxpayer money to subsidize purchases of U.S. exports is hardly going to stop China’s trillion-dollar freight train of economic nationalization. It’s like arguing that a mosquito can single handedly stiff-arm a rocket propelled grenade.

And, there is also the awkward fact that while the bank’s supporters are busy hyping it as a critical tool to stop Chinese economy hegemony, the bank is also providing subsidies to Chinese firms to purchase U.S. goods. Oops.

Republicans Nuked the Rules for This?
Then there is the obvious issue of why the Republican Senate chose to waste precious floor time on corporate cronyism, rather than confirming judges, or higher level executive branch nominations. There are over 250 nominations still pending in the Senate, and 144 judicial vacancies. The Senate may have just confirmed its 39th circuit court nominee, but there remain more judicial vacancies (there are now 144) than when Trump took office (when there were 112).

And, despite Senate Republicans nuking their debate time in order to speed up confirmation, they still aren’t working more than 2.5 days a week, putting floor time at a premium.

Why, then, is the Senate prioritizing the Ex-Im board over the roughly 30 pending district court judges? Particularly when one of the Ex-Im nominees—Judith Pryor—was chosen by Democrats? (Yes, the Senate just burned floor time confirming a Schumer nominee rather than a Trump judge.)

Remember, the Senate could easily overcome their nominations backlog—that is, confirm every single nominee in the queue—in just nine weeks if they decided to work the same amount of time as every other American. (That is, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week.)

But since they clearly don’t intend to work a normal work week, prioritization is key. And, I would argue, nominees to the Export-Import Bank (one of whom, again, was chosen by Chuck Schumer) hardly rise to the level of burning valuable floor time—particularly for a corporate crony bank that many in the Republican conference think shouldn’t exist in the first place.

But, this is Washington, after all. So unless the rest of those 250 pending nominations (including more than 60 judges) have K Street lobbyists and a dump trucks of campaign cash, they can just get in line.

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Center for American Greatness • Congress • Conservatives • Democrats • Donald Trump • GOPe • Immigration • Post • Republicans

The Democrats Are Humanitarian Frauds on the Border

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The evidence that Democrats are now an unapologetically open borders party is piling up, and Republicans need to start calling them on it.

From opposing expanded detention facilities, actively blocking legislation to fix family separation policies, and even voting against legislation that would prohibit illegal immigrants from voting, it’s becoming abundantly clear what Democrats want out of U.S. immigration policy: open borders, new voters, and a system that never actually gets fixed, so they can use it as a cudgel against Republicans.

Consider that just days after the family separation policy erupted, Republicans brought bills to the floor to fix the 1997 Flores settlement—the governing legal agreement which doesn’t allow children to be detained longer than 20 days. In practice, this means that individuals or families who show up with a minor are either separated from that minor and detained for processing, or the entire family unit is simply released into the interior of the country while awaiting a court date.

Republicans brought legislation to the floor of the Senate which would vitiate the Flores settlement and allow family units here illegally to be detained and processed together. But Democrats, after howling about the cruelty of the Trump administration’s strict reading of the current separation law, then turned around and repeatedly blocked Republican efforts to fix it.

The move was transparently cynical. Democrats were “unwilling to have the votes that it takes to make sure family units stay together,” observed U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.), “because the drama of tearing families apart looks so much better on TV.”

Big Crisis, No Money
Democrats’ response to huge surges in illegal crossings has been equally craven. In just the first four months of fiscal year 2019, more illegal crossers have been apprehended than in the entirety of last fiscal year. In March, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) apprehended more than 100,000 crossers, the highest monthly total in over a decade. CBP officials have called it a “system-wide emergency.”

Yet Democrats, who continue to raise ire about migrants being temporarily held under bridges and the overrun conditions of existing detention facilities, refuse to give CBP more resources for the purpose of safely, securely, and humanely housing illegal crossers.

During shutdown negotiations in January, Democrats resisted Republican efforts to send more detention resources to the border. They pushed to limit the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) beds to 16,500 beds per day, and reduce the overall number of available beds to less than 36,000. They did this with the full knowledge that ICE had close to 50,000 illegal immigrants in custody.

Just this week, the administration requested $4.5 billion from Congress to help stem the tide of what they called “a humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border.” Of that sum, $3.3 billion is for humanitarian assistance, including child welfare services and housing for thousands of unaccompanied minors. Current funds for this program will be exhausted by June.

Another $1.1 billion is for facilities expenses, including enhanced detention to house the increased surge of unaccompanied minors and families.

Predictably, the Democrats—again, the party that routinely decries the Trump Administration’s treatment of migrants—have already stated their opposition for more funds to address humanitarian and housing needs.

Apparently they prefer the status quo at the border: overrun facilities, rampant sexual assault, and unchecked human trafficking.

The Return of “Catch-and-Release”
Their cynicism is obvious—they’d rather score political points from the existing chaos than actually solve the problem—but so is their long-term goal of open borders, and future voters.

Without appropriate detention facilities to house illegal crossers, CPB is forced simply to release those they apprehend. “Catch-and-release” was the Obama Administration’s policy, and the one Democrats would prefer to maintain.

Combine this with Democrats’ wild opposition to President Trump’s attempts to put a question about citizenship (not illegal status; just citizenship) on the 2020 Census; their open support of sanctuary jurisdictions—cities that take federal immigration enforcement money but refuse to abide by federal immigration law); and the recent vote by House Democrats who almost unanimously opposed a prohibition on allowing illegal immigrants to vote, and it becomes obvious that their opposition to Trump and Republicans has nothing at all to do with the welfare of illegal immigrants.

Rather, it has everything to do with political power, money, and securing future voters.

More GOP Neglect
Republicans have done a poor job of making this plain. Instead of forcing Democrats to repeatedly and publicly oppose legislation to fix family separation and improve facilities and humanitarian care at the border, they hide from the issue, allowing Democrats to control every angle of the narrative.

Instead of trumpeting statistics on the $2.3 billion cartels made on the backs of Central American migrants in 2017, or the horrific stories of sexual abuse reported on by everyone from the New York Times to Doctors Without Borders, Republicans (with a few exceptions) largely prefer to pretend none of it is happening.

They do so at their own peril. Washington may not want to address immigration, but the issue is still trending in a significant way among voters. A recent Gallup poll called out “the government” and “immigration” “as the only two issues cited by more than one in 10 Americans—as they have been for all but one of the past 13 months.”

With their inaction, rhetorical and otherwise, Republicans are allowing Democrats to tar them on the immigration issue, while Democrats get to keep quietly obstructing the policy outcomes they say they want. It’s time for Republicans to stop allowing Democrats to speak out of both sides of their mouths.

Democrats have evolved into a party of open borders. When will the Republicans start making them own it?

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2016 Election • Administrative State • America • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Donald Trump • GOPe • Post • Republicans

What Does it Mean to be Moral in the Public Arena?

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We’re at a time in our country when most of our elected officials apparently have forgotten their responsibilities. In truth, U.S. politicians in their capacity as politicians have one moral imperative: to promote, protect, and advance the interests of the American people they represent. Everything else is secondary. To do anything other than promote the interests of the American people—or worse, to promote behavior that is detrimental to the interests of Americans—is, in fact, immoral.

So what does it mean, then, to be a moral public official?

Mitt Romney, otherwise known as Senator Pablum, came out yet again and informed the world how terrible he thought Donald Trump’s behavior was in light of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report—you know, the political document that spells out the failed soft coup against a duly elected president.

Romney joined others in tut-tutting the president’s moral character, but he and everyone else apparently have forgotten the message voters sent to the swamp in 2016: we pretty much don’t care what you think. Voters are tired of candidates who promise them the world, but who, upon arrival in Washington D.C., are happy to hold hands with opponents across the aisle and increase spending, decrease freedom, and ignore the people who sent them to Washington in the first place.

Finally, in Donald Trump we have someone who promises to do the opposite. He’s made it his goal to fulfill as many campaign promises as possible, from conservative judges to tax cuts, border security, fixing broken trade deals, and standing up for America’s interests abroad.

Republicans since Ronald Reagan long have made big promises, whether it was repealing Obamacare, cutting the national debt, fixing our broken welfare system, and stopping the madness at our southern border. But the overwhelming majority of them abandon those values when it counts.

The late Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) railed against Obamacare and the consequences for our healthcare, raising millions of dollars for his reelection on the promise he would end it. But when the moment arrived, he voted to prop up the failing, costly program. President George W. Bush had countless opportunities for serious reform of our welfare system. Instead his domestic legacy is the expensive and unnecessary Medicare Part D. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan ran as pragmatic conservatives ready to shrink the size of government, but when Ryan had the chance to work with President Trump, he failed to push through meaningful reforms. Now Romney continues his sniping at the president from his safe seat in his newfound home of Utah.

All of these men have railed against President Trump to varying degrees. Romney, who was once upon a time a moderate with progressive views before he became “severely conservative,” has one moral standard he lives by: opportunism.

Romney now intones that “Donald Trump has not risen to the mantle of the office” and that the president is dividing this nation instead of uniting it. Others out of the evangelical wing of the Republican Party bemoan Trump’s personal morality while Jonah Goldberg recently defied the world to come up with a definition of how Trump is good.

As someone who has both advocated and lived a personal life that is much different from Trump’s, let me spell it out: people are sick and tired of the nice guy who won’t fight for them, who drops his principles when it’s convenient, and who’s more concerned with his reception in the elite halls of power than in the town halls in his district.

The elites in D.C. and New York clearly would prefer a prim and proper globalist over an imperfect populist who puts his nation and its citizens first.

It is staggering to see that the people decrying Trump’s personal life are the very same ones who many times have witnessed and apologized and partaken in the great immorality of many of our political leaders: a refusal to prioritize the interests of the American people.

Funded by the American taxpayer, our leaders in both parties have involved us in bad trade deals, costing the American people jobs and income. They’ve involved us in foreign wars in which we have spent trillions of dollars and lost thousands of American lives.

They’ve promised us immigration reform, yet have done nothing. The people are sick of it.

And yet these people who have been apologists for such behavior, who have been a part of such behavior, now are lecturing us on how Trump is immoral? We’ve elected these people, hired them if you will, and most of them have sold out our interests and lied to the American people for decades and yet they presume to view themselves as paragons of virtue?

Why does it not occur to them that they in fact are guilty of deeply immoral behavior? They squander our money, drive our national debt to new heights, call the future prosperity of our children into question and every day seem to forget that their one and only moral responsibility and fiduciary responsibility is to the American people and only to the American people.

The first concern of any elected official in the United States should be for the freedom, safety, and welfare of the American people before all others, not the personal morality of their lives. While this should be so apparent as to be a self-evident truth, clearly Trump’s methods and style are too much for some peoples’ delicate sensibilities. We have a president who actually believes that his responsibility is to the American people and the American worker. He actually believes that we should have better trade deals and immigration reform. He actually believes in the things he says on the campaign trail, not just as convenient platitudes meant to sucker enough voters into voting for him. What a shocking and novel idea!

So instead of sanctimonious prigs who smile, lie, and then wave as they sell out the American people’s interests every day, I will take a bare knuckle brawler fighting on behalf of the American people. I would go so far as to say in regards to what could be defined as a public arena morality, Donald Trump is far more moral than any of those currently criticizing him.

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Center for American Greatness • Congress • GOPe • Post • Republicans

Our Lazy Republican Senate Needs to Start Confirming

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week took the extraordinary step—in response to Democrats’ obstruction of President Trump’s nominees—of using the “nuclear option” to shorten debate time for judicial and executive nominees.

I’ve written at length about why this is a bad idea, most recently here and here.

Prior to this action, the Senate allowed for up to 30 hours of debate on the nominees. Democrats actually have never used that time for debate, but the Senate has been allowing the 30 hours to run even without debate. McConnell had remedies for this sort of inaction that would have fallen well short of going nuclear.

The Senate’s rules already allow a determined majority to speed up confirmations; this Senate is just too lazy to use them. Second, there are long-term consequences for consistently using the nuclear option as a problem-solving tool, and those consequences are likely to diminish minority rights in the Senate—critical for conservatives, who are always in the minority, even when Republicans have the majority.

I’ve also argued that this Senate is so epically lazy (they work 2.5 days a week; Monday night through Thursday afternoon) that even violating the Senate’s rules won’t help.

Case in point: after using the nuclear option to shorten the 30 hours of debate time to two for a district court judge—for the stated reason that they need to speed up confirmations—the Senate postponed their votes until the next day.

To put a finer point on it, here’s what the last half of the Senate’s week looked like. On Wednesday night, immediately after postponing their final vote at 5:15 p.m., the senators finished for the evening and scurried off to catch early-bird dinners. They went home and set their alarms so they could be ready to start again on Thursday, for three 15-minute votes, scheduled for 11:45 a.m. The Senate’s workweek then ended at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday.

It turns out the nuclear option can only go so far. It cannot, for example, overcome the inertia of senators who just don’t want to work.

Nine Weeks to Confirm Them All
Though I do not believe it was wise to use the nuclear option, what’s done is now done. And since such a serious action was taken in the service of speeding up confirmations, that is now what we should expect: a robust, full-on engagement with the confirmation process.

So what would it look like if the Senate put the pedal to the metal, and actually showed up to use this new power which they violently altered the Senate to create?

Debate on most nominees is now limited to two hours each. There are 168 hours in every week, and, under this new precedent, it takes two hours and 30 minutes per nominee to confirm them (2 hours of debate, plus two 15 minute roll call votes). Assuming Democrats burn every hour of debate time (based on past practice, they will not) this means the Senate could confirm 67 nominees per week if they were to work around the clock.

Admittedly, that’s a lot to ask of a body whose average age is 62 (one of the oldest Senates in history), so let’s lower the standard a little bit, and just expect them to work as much as regular Americans.

According to a 2014 Gallup poll, adults employed full time in the U.S. report working an average of 47 hours per week.  If the Senate were to work the same number of hours as average Americans, and Democrats were to consume every hour of available floor time (again, they will not) the Senate should still be able to confirm 19 nominees per week—at a minimum.

In other words, if the Senate goes a week without confirming at least 19 nominees, this entire exercise was worth nothing.

Don’t Believe the Hype
Again, recall that Senate Republicans undertook this drastic maneuver for the stated purpose of speeding up confirmations. The obstruction from Democrats was “historic,” the Senate was “at a standstill,” the confirmation process was in “crisis.”

If all that is true, and was worth upending the Senate’s rules, normalizing previously unthinkable tactics, and threatening the future of minority rights, then we should expect rapid, urgent action from the majority.

For example, there are 38 district court nominees on the Senate calendar. All have had hearings, have been reported out of the Judiciary Committee, and are waiting for the Senate to vote.

But your Senate? The one that just told us we are facing a confirmation crisis of world-historical proportions? They busted the rules and then blew out of town on a Thursday. It’s possible that they’ll show up next week and work a full workweek. If they do—if the Senate were to work just five days a week, instead of 2.5—all those judges could be confirmed in just two weeks.

The same is true for President Trump’s executive nominees: undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, general counsels, ambassadors, and so forth. All told, there are 131 people who have been nominated for positions to advance the president’s agenda, ready and waiting for a Senate vote.

At 19 nominees per week (again, that’s just asking the Senate to stay in session for as long as the average American works every week) the Senate should be able to confirm these nominees—all of them!—in just seven weeks.

Those seven weeks, combined with the two weeks it would take to confirm the pending district court judges, means that all the existing lower tier nominees on the Senate’s calendar could be confirmed in nine weeks.

Nine weeks is all it would take, if the Senate just worked as many hours as everyone else in America. And, considering that there are 17 weeks left until the scheduled August recess, they have plenty of time.

Last week, Senate Republicans told us that this confirmation crisis was worth whatever consequences unfurl from the extraordinary step they took last Wednesday.

They’ve have given themselves the ability. What’s less clear is if they possess the will to make the whole exercise worth it.

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Center for American Greatness • Congress • Conservatives • Democrats • GOPe • Post • Republicans

Nuking the 30-Hour Rule Is a Bad Idea

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After much public hand-wringing, the Senate reportedly is planning to go “nuclear” on its debate rules for floor nominations this week.

I can count on one hand the number of people outside Washington, D.C. (or inside, D.C., for that matter) who are likely to care about this. But if my more than a decade in conservative politics has given me anything, it is an enthusiastic affinity for obscure (and probably doomed) causes. To that end, I present my dogged defense of why you—the gentle, voting American with a million more important things to care about—should also care about the Senate’s rules.

First, some background.

Current Senate rules say that once cloture is invoked on a nomination (that is, once the Senate has decided to end debate), 30 hours of debate remain until the final vote. Republicans are proposing to reduce those 30 hours of debate to only two hours for all nominations outside of the Supreme Court, circuit court nominees, or senior executive branch nominees.

Changing a Senate rule, however, requires 67 votes. Republicans don’t have the votes to do that (there are only 53 of them). Enter the “nuclear option.”

The business of “going nuclear” involves senators voting to create a precedent—that is, a method of doing business (kind of like case law)—that is in violation of one of the Senate’s standing rules. Rather than requiring the 67 votes necessary to change a rule, creating a new precedent only requires a simple majority.

This is the same way Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) eliminated the 60-vote threshold for all judicial and executive branch nominees in 2013. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did the same thing for Supreme Court nominees in 2017.

Deploying the nuclear option means that every time the Senate ends debate on a nomination at two hours, instead of 30, they would be violating their own rules. The same thing happens on judicial nominations that move forward with only 51 votes. The precedent says this can happen at 51. But the rule still says it requires 60. In other words, the Senate’s rules haven’t changed, the Senate has just agreed with 51 votes that the rules no longer matter.

So, why are Senate Republicans so interested in this? Over the course of two years, Republicans have faced what they call “historic opposition” from Senate Democrats. And, to an extent, that’s true. President Trump has only 64 percent of his nominees confirmed, compared to 83 percent for President Bush and 80 percent for President Obama at the same point in their terms.

It’s a reasonable argument, but the proposed solution is short-sighted and, if implemented, would do long-term damage to the institution.

Here are three reasons why.

This is a lazy way to address a problem that already could be fixed using existing Senate rules.

Senators are lazy. There’s no other way around it. They work two-and-a-half days a week. They hardly vote on amendments (or anything). They waste most of their session time in endless quorum calls when they could be voting.

But nuking the debate rules doesn’t mean they will work harder. Rather, it allows them to be even lazier.

Here’s the secret about the Democrats’ obstruction. It exists because Senate Republicans are letting the Democrats get away with it.

Under existing Senate rules, senators are only allowed to speak no more than twice for no longer than one hour during the 30 hours of final debate time. If no senator is seeking to use that debate time, McConnell could immediately call the vote.

In other words, if McConnell were properly enforcing the Senate’s existing rules, 30 different Democrats would be required to speak for all 30 hours to be used. In the event that doesn’t happen (because, to make it more difficult, McConnell could also force the debate to take place in the middle of the night), maybe only 10 Democrats show up. Or eight. Or two. Those 30 hours rapidly diminish.

Instead, Democrats have been demanding 30 hours of time to debate—and not using it. And McConnell has allowed them to do so without consequence. He’s not forcing them to the floor to use the time, because he’s not threatening them with losing it.

It’s why when you turn on C-Span 2 to check out the action on the Senate floor, you are usually met with deafening silence, with the clerk occasionally croaking out the name of a senator as she calls the roll with all the alacrity of a melting glacier.

Nuking the rules does not actually provide senators with more resources than they already have. It just allows them to be even lazier than they already are.

The Senate would have greater incentive to go hard in the paint for judges, forsaking the rest of Trump’s nominees.

If Republicans decide to nuke the 30 hours of debate time, Democrats likely will respond by withholding consent for any future executive branch nominees, making them more difficult to confirm.

When given a choice between confirming a political appointee who will serve the next two years, or a judge with a lifetime appointment, Senate Republicans obviously will choose the latter. The effect will be that judges are prioritized for floor time, and Trump’s political appointees are not.

Prioritizing judges is not, in itself, a bad thing. Getting good judges on the court for lifetime appointments is significant, considering how much of our policy is now decided there (instead of in Congress). And the Senate should be confirming judges, seeing how easy it is to do now that the 60-vote threshold has been removed. (Thanks, Harry Reid!) What once required a fair amount of political horse trading and arm twisting now simply requires scheduling.

But it would be a huge detriment to President Trump if his executive confirmations suffer as a result. Personnel is policy, and nothing has made this lesson more abundantly clear than the bureaucracy actively seeking to undermine the president. Political appointees, many of whom require Senate confirmation before they can start their jobs, are the executors of the president’s agenda across the government. Without them, he has very little impact at the agency level.

Continuing to nuke Senate rules ultimately puts the 60-vote requirement for legislation at risk.

Nuking is partisan and easy, which makes it attractive and addictive. That’s why it builds on itself. Reid started tearing down the judicial filibuster in 2013. McConnell eliminated the rest of it in 2017. And now, in 2019, what was once an unthinkable option is now almost mundane. It’s becoming normal.

So how long until the legislative filibuster (the 60 vote requirement for bills) suffers the same fate? There are those—Republicans and Democrats alike—who would support that outcome. But as I’ve written here, here, and here, it’s bound to result in bad outcomes in the long run, particularly for whomever is in the minority party. For conservatives, who are usually always in the minority regardless, this is especially true.

The Senate has long been the Congress’ last line of defense against passage of highly controversial pieces of legislation.

In the era of Medicare-for-All, the Green New Deal, or the Democrats’ attempt to rewrite election laws, it would be ill-advised to remove the last measure of protection for minority views.

But Wouldn’t the Democrats Nuke the Filibuster Anyway?
The classic talking point against protecting the legislative filibuster is that the Democrats are going to do away with it anyway, so why wait?

There are two problems with this argument. The first is that it’s not necessarily true. Democrats have a real case of buyer’s remorse for nuking the judicial filibuster, which has allowed President Trump fundamentally to re-shape the judicial character of the courts. The clapback is still too real, and the consequences too fresh, for many Senate Democrats to be inclined to go proactively nuclear again, or at least anytime soon.

That said, there is risk for Republicans in normalizing a behavior that previously was considered verboten. If the GOP continues to use the nuclear option as a problem-solving tool, it makes it easier for the Democrats to do the same in the future. Bad behavior begets bad behavior.

But the second, and more important point, is that Republican efforts to eliminate the legislative filibuster would not necessarily translate into “conservative” victories. Simply being able to pass legislation at 51 votes does not mean the legislation will be any good, or that it will even happen at all.

Consider the past two years, when Republicans had unified government control and the ability to repeal Obamacare at a 51-vote threshold in the Senate, along with 52 Republicans. They still couldn’t do it. What did they do instead? Pass bloated spending bills that funded Planned Parenthood.

Moreover, even if the legislative filibuster changes, the Senate GOP can be reliably counted on to still only work two-and-a-half days a week, deny members amendments, and write most of the bills behind closed doors.

It’s a high bar to say anything will actually change, particularly for conservatives, who will now just have bad bills jammed down their throats with 51 votes, instead of 60.

The converse, however, is also true. If given a Senate without a legislative filibuster, rest assured that the Democrats would wield that power in terrifying ways. Unlike Republicans, they wouldn’t take off half of the work week. They’d work seven days a week. And they’d keep their party in line, passing terrible legislation that Republicans wouldn’t be able to undo.

The stakes are too high to push Democrats into this by normalizing the nuclear option. And the payoff is too low for Republicans to be the ones to do it.

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2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Donald Trump • GOPe • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Republicans

Media Ignores Major Story About the Dossier—Again

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Whispers about the late Senator John McCain’s involvement in spreading the infamous Steele dossier around Washington mostly have been a sidebar to the larger scandal. But the court deposition of David Kramer, a close associate of McCain who was part of a defamation lawsuit related to the dossier, now confirms McCain’s wider role.

Explosive details in the deposition, released to the public on March 14 on order by a Florida district court, reveal how Kramer and McCain distributed the infamous Steele dossier to the media, the FBI, and Republican lawmakers after the November 2016 election. It’s now a harsh fact that one of Trump’s most powerful foes on Capitol Hill worked in tandem with Democratic schemers to discredit his election.

This is not inconsequential news. Further, McCain and Kramer’s handling of the still-unverified dossier authored by Christopher Steele, a British political operative, and peddled by Glenn Simpson, an influential Washington consultant who being was paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, is only one part of the story. McCain continued to ratchet up Trump-Russia hysteria after the election, as I wrote earlier this week. During a Senate hearing in June 2017, a clearly agitated McCain asked former FBI Director James Comey if he was aware that the Russians had information “that could coerce members of the administration or blackmail members of the administration?” Comey said he could not answer the question.

For rank-and-file Republicans closely monitoring how the Obama Justice Department weaponized federal powers in order to infiltrate the Trump campaign then fueled bogus suspicions about Trump-Russia election collusion after Trump won, this was another gut punch. McCain was defiant and vague about his role before his death in August 2018. But now it’s clear that a respected senator who accepted the support of tens of millions of Republican voters in 2008 during his losing bid for president betrayed many of those very same voters by attempting to sabotage Donald Trump.

It was the latest blow to McCain’s legacy in the GOP; before his death, he was far more popular with Democrats than with Republicans. In August 2018, McCain only had a 41 percent favorability rating among Republicans while 49 percent held an unfavorable view of the six-term senator, largely based on his strong opposition to Trump and his deciding vote on Obamacare repeal in 2017.

President Trump tweeted about McCain a few days after the release of Kramer’s deposition, referring to the late senator’s dossier involvement as a “very dark stain.” He followed up with another tweet: “So it was indeed (just proven in court papers) ‘last in his class’ (Annapolis) John McCain that sent the Fake Dossier to the FBI and Media hoping to have it printed BEFORE the Election. He & the Dems, working together, failed (as usual). Even the Fake News refused this garbage!” (According to Kramer’s testimony, McCain gave Comey the dossier in December 2016.)

This reignited a long-standing feud between Trump and McCain’s allies, including his daughter, Meghan, now a regular panelist on ABC’s “The View.” As the week wore on, Trump continued his verbal pounding of McCain; journalists, commentators and even some Republican lawmakers rushed to McCain’s defense.

“There is just no reason to be talking about Senator McCain after he has passed. He is not your poltical [sic] enemy Mr. President,” tweeted newly elected GOP heartthrob, Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas). “Everyone should give him and his family the respect, admiration, and peace they deserve,” tweeted Arizona Republican Martha McSally, who is filling out the remainder of McCain’s term.

But the episode again underscores the divide between official Washington and Trump’s base. It also is yet another infuriating example of how the media obfuscates, justifies, and flat-out ignores key details about what many Trump supporters view as an attempted soft coup to overthrow President Trump, one that destroyed the reputations and livelihoods of innocent people as it proceeded. Of course, the media was—and is—complicit in this scandal and shows no inclination to back down now.

“For Trump, attacking McCain is a way to appeal to his political base,” screamed a March 21 headline in the Washington Post. The three reporters, including former National Review writer Robert Costa, ticked off a long list of disagreements between Trump and McCain, including their divergent views of the Vietnam War (yes, really), concluding that Trump’s sudden attacks were an effort to “[stoke] his supporters’ rawest emotions and suspicions about the GOP’s political elite.” Oddly, the Post article does not cite the dossier or the Kramer deposition as the primary reason for Trump’s remarks this week. In fact, the Jeff Bezos-owned newspaper only once briefly mentioned Kramer in a March 17 article about why Trump was taking on McCain. “The judge last week unsealed documents related to the [BuzzFeed defamation] suit, including Kramer’s deposition, which is why the topic is again back in the news.”

New York Times reporter and Trump nemesis Maggie Haberman was totally perplexed about why the president suddenly was condemning McCain, and opined that Trump “tweeted about it seemingly out of nowhere over the weekend, possibly prompted by something he saw on TV.” This was nearly a full week after the Kramer deposition was posted online. Perhaps it’s unfair to blame Haberman for her ignorance since the Times does not have a single article or column about Kramer’s deposition.

“He just cannot let it go, he continues to attack a dead man, war hero Senator John McCain,” raged CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday. “McCain has been dead for seven months. Why? Who does this help?” One of Tapper’s panelists, self-proclaimed Republican strategist Kevin Madden, was equally puzzled. “I don’t know why he’s doing it,” Madden answered. “It’s so gratuitous and it’s in service of nothing. That’s why it doesn’t make any sense.”

Of course, Madden wasn’t the only so-called commentator on the Right who willfully ignored the relevant issue. Writing in Commentary on March 20, NeverTrumper and MSNBC contributor Noah Rothman dismissed the notion that Trump was angered at learning McCain and his associates (another person involved was a top staffer to McCain’s Senate Armed Services committee) were pushing fictional political opposition research paid for by the Democrats to top law enforcement officials and Trump-hating journalists after the election.

“The president would like to pretend as though his antipathy toward the late senator from Arizona is based…on the fact that [McCain] provided the troubling but unverified Steele Dossier to the proper authorities, as though that was a breach of decorum.” Rothman sniffed. It’s worth recalling that Rothman was an early promoter of Putin-Trump conspiracies, insisting in October 2016 that “the Russian leader is pulling Trump’s strings.”

In calling Trump a “harsh president,” conservative columnist Cal Thomas referred to the Steele dossier as “a private intelligence report compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele for the political research firm Fusion GPS.”

There was more general confusion on the Right. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) tweeted how he “can’t understand why the President would, once again, disparage a man as exemplary as my friend John McCain.” Former NeverTrumper Erick Erickson, who recently admitted he would vote to re-elect Trump in 2020, warned “there’s no reason to keep digging up his memory to crap on it.”

And so on.

Fortunately, thanks to online journals like American Greatness and to numerous social media accounts with hundreds of thousands of combined followers, the actual facts about the dossier, the media’s complicity in its legitimization, and now, McCain’s post-election chicanery with it, are readily available for people who aren’t blinded by Trump hate or averse to reality. Trump may be muddying his own message with irrelevant remarks about McCain’s funeral, but his anger is real and justified. And it’s not just that the media, Democrats and NeverTrump Republicans don’t understand it. It’s that, as has been their collective pattern for nearly three years, they refuse to acknowledge any facet of the biggest political scandal in American history—largely because to some degree, they played a part in it or, at a minimum, they wish it we’re true.

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America • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • GOPe • Immigration • Post

Immigration to America Is Not What It Used to Be

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Speaking at a naturalization ceremony in Texas on March 18, former President George W. Bush said immigration to America “is a blessing and a strength.” He also said that “borders need to be respected,” and praised the work of border patrol agents, but that’s not what the media seized upon.

The Washington Post inserted “blessing and strength” into the lead of its story, headlined “George W. Bush: ‘May we never forget that immigration is a blessing and a strength’,” also working into the first sentence the following dig at Donald Trump: “a message that sharply contrasts with President Trump’s rhetoric on the issue.”

CNN Politics covered the speech, making sure to note “the rhetoric and policy positions from Bush came in contrast to much of the modern Republican Party and President Donald Trump.” The BBC said, “Mr Bush’s comments were seen as an implicit rebuke to President Donald Trump’s administration.”

And on and on. CBS News: “Bush urges politicians to ‘dial down rhetoric’ on immigration.” The Boston Globe: “described immigration as ‘a blessing and a strength,’ a message that sharply contrasts with President Trump’s rhetoric on the issue.” People: “it was a soft rebuke of the prevailing anti-immigrant position of some members of the Republican Party, including President Donald Trump.”

Get it? George W. Bush has won his grim battle with history. Various photos showed him inviting dozens of new citizens up to the podium, including Muslims in headscarves, Hispanics, and Africans. Apparently including anyone of European descent would have been bad optics.

And never mind that if Bush II hadn’t bombed, invaded and occupied Iraq, the Middle East might be relatively stable today. Iraq, for all its problems, would nonetheless provide a strategic counterweight to Iran. We would have saved trillions of dollars and spared millions of lives, and additional millions of refugees would have stayed home.

What’s Really Happening
The problem with all this media-spun anti-Trump “wisdom” from Bush is simple: President Trump is right, and the spin is wrong.

It is true that America was enriched in the past by waves of new immigrants. It is true that in the past, these waves of new immigrants benefited the economy. And it is true that even now, if immigration were brought under control, reduced somewhat, and reformed so that only highly skilled immigrants with a commitment to learning English were vetted and admitted, it would again be beneficial to our economy and enrich our culture. But that’s not what’s happening.

According to CarryingCapacity.org, the United States “now accepts over one million legal immigrants each year, which is more than all of the other industrialized nations in the world, combined.” Additionally, according to ImmigrationCounters.com, nearly 28 million illegal immigrants currently live in the United States.

Attempting to quantify the costs and benefits of immigration into the United States is not easy. According to a study conducted by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the cost to America taxpayers to provide illegal immigrants government funded education, health care, justice and law enforcement, public assistance, and general government services is estimated at $135 billion per year. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, “63% of non-citizen households access welfare programs compared to 35% of native households.”

Statistics abound—and for every study suggesting that America’s immigration is creating a burden on the economy, there is another that concludes the opposite, that immigrants continue to provide a net economic benefit to the economy. So rather than provide yet another regurgitation of battling statistics, it is important to note some crucial qualitative differences between immigration trends in America today, compared with past centuries in America.

Why Immigration to America Today Is Different

  1. Immigrants today are not coming from nations of equal or greater economic achievement. In the past, immigrants from Europe, for the most part, were emigrating from nations that were as advanced as the United States was, if not more so. Today the overwhelming majority of immigrants are coming from developing nations.
  2. Immigrants in the past came primarily from European nations which had cultural values—educational, religious, and political—that were, if not nearly identical to American cultural values, at shared a similar trajectory towards achieving those values. Immigrants today come from nations that, relatively speaking, have far fewer cultural similarities to America than past waves of immigrants.
  3. Immigrants today, for the most part, are coming from nations that are rapidly increasing in population and, in aggregate, dwarf the United States in population. Related to this is the fact that in the past, the people already in America were themselves rapidly increasing in population, but this is no longer the case, except among populations of recently arrived immigrants.
  4. Immigrants today arrive via 10-hour hops on an airliner. In the past, waves of immigrants spent 10 months traversing land and sea in a journey of staggering expense and significant dangers. While this isn’t universally true, particularly for the overland migrants that cross America’s southern border, the general point stands: coming to America today does not require the commitment it required in the past.
  5. Similarly, in the past, immigrants pretty much renounced their countries of origin. They made a one-way trip and they adopted the language and values of America. Today, retaining cultural unity with one’s country of origin is a few clicks on the internet, a cheap telephone call, an affordable airfare. Technology has greatly eroded the forces that used to impel immigrants to become Americans.
  6. Immigrants in the past arrived in an America that had a voracious need for unskilled workers. Today the American economy is relentlessly automating jobs that used to require unskilled labor, and the American population already has a surplus of unskilled workers.
  7. Immigrants today are arriving in a welfare state, where they are assured of food, shelter, and medical care that are, in general, orders of magnitude better than anything available to them in their native countries. This creates a completely different incentive to today’s immigrants. In past centuries, immigrants came to America to find freedom and to work. Today they are offered a smorgasbord of taxpayer-funded social services.
  8. Immigrant students today—especially in the coastal urban centers where most of them settle—enter a public education system that teaches them with a reverse-racist, anti-capitalist bias. They are taught in our public schools not to assimilate, but to “celebrate diversity”; not to earn opportunities through hard work, but through fighting discrimination. They are taught, often in their native language, that they have arrived in a nation dominated by racist and sexist white males, who exploit the world to amass evil profits.

Recipes for Disaster
These final three points are the most troublesome. If immigration reform advocates made those a priority and addressed them decisively with new policies, the other concerns might be manageable. But we must address the problems caused by immigrants with low job-skills, who encounter the welfare state, and are subjected to anti-Western cultural messaging.

To suggest Americans should resist competing with highly skilled immigrants, for example, is not only xenophobic, but it smacks of an entitlement mentality. Allowing immigrants into the United States who are qualified to join our ranks of scientists, engineers, researchers and doctors will only help our economy and overall standard of living. Allowing unskilled immigrants into this country, however, when we already have tens of millions of unskilled workers who are either in our prisons or unemployed and collecting welfare—who themselves could perform this work—is much more likely to constitute a drain on our economy.

Similarly, it is a recipe for disaster to allow immigrants into an America where the curricula in K-12 schools and universities—beholden to powerful left-wing teachers and faculty unions—indoctrinates immigrants to resent the alleged evils of capitalism and the incorrigible racist, sexist core of our American culture. This is particularly true when accompanying this siren song of corruption is easy access to social services of all kinds, including welfare. If new immigrants are taught the cards are stacked against them, and at the same time they are offered a free ride that provides a standard of living many times greater than what they knew in the countries they came from, why work?

Clearly an increasing population, all else held equal, does cause overall economic expansion. It isn’t clear at all, however, that this is the optimal way to create economic expansion. First of all, global human population is destined to level off by 2050 anyway, so rather than expanding the population through immigration, economic policy needs to search for the answer as to how to continue to experience economic growth despite a stable, aging population. In Japan, they have already made this policy decision—with zero net immigration and the oldest population on earth, Japan leads the world in the development of androids that will, presumably, become caregivers to the elderly. Economic growth oriented towards improving the quality of life for the elderly is one example of a sustainable growth sector—economic growth dependent on an immigrant-fueled population expansion is not sustainable.

There is another factor, of course, that makes immigration today far more problematic than it was in previous generations. Now more than ever, mass immigration of unskilled economic migrants and political refugees has become a strategy to move America sharply to the Left by dramatically transforming the electorate.

What the establishment uniparty is doing in America today is a deliberate devaluation of American votes, and a deliberate thwarting of the political rule of  Americans who have lived and worked in America for generations. Trump’s bellicosity may scare the soccer moms, but they along with everyone else who loves America ought to reflect on his actions instead of his tone. He is the only major politician in modern times who has tried to do anything to stop this. George W. Bush, God bless him, should stop letting the media use his words as weapons in their war against Trump.

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2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Donald Trump • GOPe • Post

McCain’s Key Role in Fueling Post-Election Trump-Russia Hysteria

In his 2018 book, The Restless Wave, the late Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) wondered aloud why he was sought out and given the infamous Steele dossier shortly after the 2016 presidential election.

After suggesting that anyone who questioned his role in handling the political document was indulging in “conspiracy theories,” McCain offered his explanation: “The answer is too obvious for the paranoid to credit. I am known internationally to be a persistent critic of Vladimir Putin’s regime and I have been a long while.”

It is true that McCain was an outspoken critic of Putin. But the big problem with McCain’s defense is that by the time he wrote those words—presumably the end of 2017, since the book was published in late May 2018—it already was public knowledge that the dossier had been authored and distributed by political pimps funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. When McCain was writing his book, many of the culprits were in serious legal jeopardy.

Christopher Steele, the dossier’s author, was being sued for defamation and was under congressional scrutiny in 2017. (McCain had sent his close associate, David Kramer, to meet Steele in London shortly after the 2016 election to track down gossip about the president-elect.) Steele also remains the subject of a criminal referral at the Justice Department for lying to federal officials.

McCain’s Senate colleagues were investigating Fusion GPS and its owner, Glenn Simpson, who produced and peddled the fabricated document, in the summer of 2017. (It was Simpson, not Steele as McCain suggested in his book, who gave Kramer the dossier in late November 2016; McCain would later provide that copy of the dossier to former FBI Director James Comey, who already had used the sleazily obtained and Democrat-funded opposition research to get a secret court’s approval to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page.)

Kramer also testified before the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017 related to its probe of the dossier, and he later invoked his Fifth Amendment right to avoid further questioning.

And if his book was still in production in February 2018, McCain would have known that the FBI withheld crucial details about the dossier’s political provenance in a shameful scheme to violate the privacy rights of a U.S. citizen whose only offense was volunteering to help Trump in 2016. McCain knew it because he vehemently opposed the release of the bombshell memo authored by Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which detailed how the dossier was presented as evidence to the FISA court. The senator accused Trump and Nunes of attacking the FBI and for “looking at the investigation through the warped lens of politics and manufacturing partisan sideshows,” McCain wrote in a statement the day the memo was released. “If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”

None of these facts are addressed in McCain’s book. Simpson and Fusion GPS are not mentioned, even though Simpson was McCain’s source for the dossier. There was no acknowledgement that McCain and his associates were complicit—either unwittingly or intentionally—in a wide ranging plot to sabotage the incoming president of the United States by sowing doubt about the legitimacy of the election and Trump’s alleged fealty to Putin. Instead, McCain wrote that anyone who doubts his actions can “go to hell.”

Perhaps the reason why McCain overlooked those inconvenient details is because he was a central figure in fueling hysteria about Russian influence in the election after Trump won the presidency. At the same time, Kramer was working behind the scenes along with Simpson to legitimize the dossier, including confirming the explosive news that McCain personally delivered it to Comey in early December 2016. Collectively, it produced the fertile soil from which the Trump-Russia election collusion hoax would grow after Trump’s inauguration.

Sadly, rather than use his stature and leadership skills to soothe a nation rocked by the surprise election of Donald Trump, John McCain instead poured rhetorical gasoline on a smoldering body politic. Working in tandem with shell-shocked Obama officials desperate to find an excuse for Hillary Clinton’s humiliating loss, McCain publicly pounded the idea that Russian “hacking” was the reason for her defeat. His accusations escalated from initially decrying Russia’s sketchy interference in the election to calling it an “act of war” by December 2016.

McCain threatened Trump not to “reset” relations with Putin and outlined a number of sanctions the new president should impose. “There are a lot of more stringent measures we should take, after all it was an attack on the United States of America and and an attack on the fundamentals of our democracy,” McCain warned in December 2016. “If you destroy the free elections, then you destroy democracy.” In a fact-free interview on “Face the Nation” on December 11, 2016, McCain said he wanted a select committee to investigate Russia for “hacking into the United States 2016 election campaign.”

Keep in mind, the only evidence of an “attack on the fundamentals of our democracy” at the time was a vague October 7, 2016 notice from Obama’s highly-politicized intelligence community that insinuated Russian actors were behind various email hacking activities. Obama had ordered a full scale review, which resulted in a questionable January 2017 report alleging that Putin “aspired to help” Trump win the presidency. The evidence to support the claim remains highly classified.

On January 5, 2017, the day before that report was released, McCain scheduled a hearing of his committee featuring testimony by then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to push the Russian election “hacking” plotline. McCain had an interesting exchange at one point with Clapper, whom the Arizona Republican lauded for his “integrity and professionalism.”

McCain: If they succeeded in changing the results of the election, which none of us believe they were, that would have to constitute an attack on the United States of America because of the effects had they succeeded. Would you agree with that?

Clapper: We have no way of gauging the impact . . . it had on choices that the electorate made. There’s no way for us to gauge that.

See how that worked? No one directly is saying that the Russians changed the outcome but we kind of are because there’s no way to know that they didn’t.

The day after McCain’s hearing, Clapper and Comey briefed President Obama about the intelligence community’s report as well as the salacious allegation about Trump and Russian prostitutes. Comey met afterward with Trump, notifying him of the ridiculous accusation with a warning that CNN was “looking for a news hook” on it. Clapper then apparently leaked details of that meeting to CNN reporters; the network aired an explosive story on January 10, 2017 that confirmed top intelligence chiefs briefed the president-elect that the Russians had “compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.”

An hour later, BuzzFeed would post the entire Steele dossier. BuzzFeed’s source? David Kramer.

McCain eventually would become a staunch defender of Special Counsel Robert Mueller; he told CNN’s Dana Bash in May 2017 that the collusion investigation was “going to be part of this centipede that the shoes continue to drop.”

Many people now insist that it is somehow unfair or disrespectful to examine McCain’s role in the biggest political scandal in American history because he is gone. Although the president has a valid reason to be angry about McCain’s role in this scandal, Trump’s impetuous remarks only obscure the more serious charges about the late senator’s complicity in fomenting the destructive post-election Russia hysteria.

The American people deserve a full accounting of all the players involved, even if the facts are unsettling for some to reconcile. The unwarranted and yet unproven Russia collusion hoax will forever taint the Trump presidency and has resulted in real life consequences for innocent people, not to mention the upheaval of our political system. No one should be shielded from responsibility.

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2016 Election • America • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Elections • GOPe • History • Post • Republicans

When Presidential Character Once Mattered

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Here’s why I did not vote for Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Ronald Reagan—despite their records.

1944: Sorry, I am not voting for a fourth term for Franklin D. Roosevelt. He’s a vindictive character and has brought disrepute into the White House. When he didn’t get his way, he pouted and tried to pack the Supreme Court. When critics went after him, he threatened them with targeted regulations and taxes to silence them. He signed the order putting Japanese-Americans in internment camps—another one of his “executive orders” that he so often has abused.

Then there are those rumors. Have we ever had a president who used his own daughter as a conduit to conduct an affair while in the White House? And who knows what Eleanor was doing at the time? Why hide the truth about his health? Anybody who sees or hears the president, knows his army of conspiratorial aides are lying about his ailments as they always do. We’ve known all along that he was paralyzed—and not simply partially disabled, when his braces and aides staged his standing up to make us believe he could almost walk.

The president is now wasting away. Rumors are that his blood pressure is dangerously high and won’t go down. It’s Woodrow Wilson all over again, when they lied that his stroke was never serious, even as the guy was near comatose as his wife ran the country. FDR’s advisors know that he won’t make it six months if elected a fourth time. (What president before has even run for a third term?) They are hiding that fact to make sure the Democrats keep control of the presidency once he dies in office. There should be a constitutional amendment or something to remove an incapacitated president.

I cannot vote for a candidate who flat out deceives the American people. Character is destiny, and without it policy means nothing. Storming Normandy was a brilliant success, but it should not come at cost of endorsing an adulterous president. Even if FDR is leading us to global victory, his record is stained by his mendacity.

1951: If Harry Truman runs again for a second full-term—that would make almost another 12 years of one-party governance—I would not vote for him.

Why? Try his character. Truman entered the Senate from the corrupt Kansas City political machine. For good reason, he was branded “the Senator from Pendergast.” Truman has never disavowed those mob machine ties—and never been investigated for his part in mainstreaming Missouri’s endemic corruption. The guy failed in almost every business endeavor he tried until Tom Pendergast found a job for him. As president, he’s been both petty and profane, using salty language and stooping so low as president to threaten bodily harm to a critic of his daughter’s singing career.  He drank with cronies and wasted precious time playing poker. Truman couldn’t even make it through a semester in business college—and it showed.

The bull-headed, go-it-alone grifter Truman has never listened to his far better experienced and educated advisors. He knew nothing of the Manhattan Project but soon just dropped two atomic bombs on Japan without a scintilla of doubt. Sober and judicious pros in the State Department like Alger Hiss warned him of ginning up a Cold War and adopting a polarizing “containment” policy against our former wartime ally Joseph Stalin. Truman ignored him. And who exactly lost China?

Again, Truman never listened to expert diplomats and generals, who also advised against sending troops into the Korean quagmire, or recognizing Israel, or integrating the armed forces, or establishing the CIA, or firing hero General Douglas MacArthur, and on and on. Just a bully whose motto really wasn’t “the buck stops here” but “my way or the highway.” I suppose he did a few good things, but they’re canceled out by his uncouth and unpresidential comportment.

1956: I just cannot vote to reelect Dwight Eisenhower—even if that gives us left-wing Adlai Stevenson. We never really have addressed Ike’s character flaws. While he was supreme commander of our forces in Western Europe he seems to have conducted a veritable affair with his chauffeur Kay Summersby, whose fiancé was killed on the front lines. She even visited the country for months when Ike was thinking of running for president—to his embarrassment. For me, Ike’s dalliance cancels out D-Day and all that.

When Ike wrote his best-selling memoir, he concocted a ploy to declare his huge royalties as capital gains, not income—to avoid the sort of taxes we all pay. Even salty Truman didn’t do that.

When icon George Marshall was attacked by the McCarthy crazies, the trimmer Ike kept silent—with his finger in the air to measure the political winds. So, he let his former boss and patron be slandered.

Ike ran against Truman’s war, but when he got elected, he more or less did the same thing as Truman. Not a lot of character there. Which is more important, being right about the go-ahead order for the June 6 invasion or being wrong in cheating on your wife?

I think the better strategy for 1956 is “NeverEisenhower,” and just hope Stevenson wins. That way, the Democrats will go so hard left-wing that they will turn off the country. Their extremism will allow us time to rebuild the Republican Party and get ready for 1960 with known establishmentarians and good party men like Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.—or at least a guy who has held one office before thinking he could become president.

1963: I absolutely will not vote next year to reelect John F. Kennedy. He had no experience in foreign affairs and was surrounded by the worst and the stupidest who have all but gotten us into a Vietnam war. That bunch sure failed with the Bay of Pigs disaster and the near nuclear war over Cuba, mostly macho posturing after being humiliated in Vienna by Nikita Khrushchev. None of the media has ever investigated the Kennedy shady deals that his dad made to harvest votes in Chicago and steal Illinois to win the 1960 election. Can’t there be a lawsuit to challenge the voting machines in Chicago? Or maybe the Illinois electors could at least not have voted for Kennedy in the Electoral College?

But my big concern are those rumors that the guy is completely out of control in the White House—bedding young staffers, hooking up with starlets like Marilyn Monroe, orgies in the presidential pool, and generally leading a wastrel’s life while president. He could be blackmailed. Kennedy relies on nepotism, picking his own brother as Attorney General and his brother-in-law Sargent Shriver to run the Peace Corps, and consulting with Bobby and Teddy on every decision as if they were qualified for much of anything. Can’t we ban a president’s family from serving in his administration?

Then there is his health. Every time we wonder whether he is really sick, we are told only that he’s “tan and fit” as if heat lamps, painkillers and cortisone shots can hide his illnesses. So, my big problem with JFK is that we have a growing suspicion that the image of our president has nothing to do with the reality. The last thing we need is a billionaire wheeler-dealer family syndicate that got rich bootlegging during Prohibition to be running the country, with its money-making schemes everywhere. Isn’t there an Emoluments Clause or something?

1968: Whatever he says, I hope Lyndon Johnson does not run again for president. I certainly won’t vote for him. He was always a crook dating back to his “Landslide Johnson” fraud to win his Texas Senate seat. He created that even bigger fraud Bobby Baker. And the idea that his crony and compromised judge Abe Fortas was on the court and then was even nominated to be chief justice was a travesty.

The stories emanating from the White House are gross and unbelievable. He uses the n-word to staffers routinely. He conducts business while on the toilet. He passes wind and, they say, picks up puppies by the ears. He puts his hands all over women. They even say he pulls down his pants and exposes himself to staffers. Isn’t that a felony? He is an inveterate womanizer. We need a special prosecutor to see whether the guy is certifiable.

And how exactly did a lifelong politician become a Texas multimillionaire? No one has ever questioned the long history of LBJ’s shady quid pro quo deals that made Johnson rich while in public service. No wonder we’ve got out of control spending, the “Great Society,” and the disastrous escalation in Vietnam. I’m for his Civil Rights Act and all that, but would vote against it, if creepy Johnson had his finger prints on the bill.

1984: I am certainly not going to vote to reelect Ronald Reagan and his know-nothing populism that I thought we had buried with looney Goldwater in 1964. Reagan is just another disrupter, a barn burner. In 1968, after only two years as a governor, the former B-movie actor stormed the Republican convention and tried to steal the nomination from Richard Nixon, who had loyally built up party support.

His ego got the best of him again in 1976. Why did he have to mount another failed run against our sitting president, Jerry Ford? Reagan’s selfish careerism ensured Jimmy Carter’s election and the terrible four years that followed. Are we supposed to believe that a Hollywood actor and millionaire was going to appeal to the working classes?

Who thought up this insane fantasy of a supposed “Reagan Democrat” who purportedly will bolt over to a Republican corporate stooge and vote against his own interest, as if he didn’t learn in 1980 what Reaganism was? What the hell was that cheap slogan “Let’s Make America Great Again” supposed to mean? This LMAGA slogan sounds like something from Reagan’s corny General Electric Theater days.

Reagan is also just too old and too reckless, and tanked the economy soon after he got elected. And no wonder Hollywood came out with all these end-of-days movies, given Reagan’s talk of putting nukes all over the globe. He is as phony as his jet-black hair and perpetual tan.  His wife thinks she is some sort of ex-model and starlet with all her pretentious clothes and supposed “taste.” Reagan should have listened to George Bush and dropped his crazy voodoo economics.

I also don’t like Reagan’s loose mouth. He once joked about the Hearst food give away, hoping the food had botulism and sickened poor people. Who says stuff like that? When the demonstrations spread on campuses, as governor he stirred the frenzy with taunts about getting the “bloodbath” over with. Whose bloodbath exactly? And just recently Reagan joked on a hot mic about bombing the Soviet Union—real funny when they have 7,000 real nukes pointed at us.

Why call the poor “welfare queens?” And did we really need his wild effort to stop the Panama Canal Treaty? Is it true that Nancy really has some sort of bizarre astrology calendar to calibrate his campaign appearances? Creepy. Can you imagine a president guided by the stars? And no one ever really investigated Reagan’s tax returns. Isn’t it true that one year he paid no income taxes and in a few others less than what blue-collar workers pay? Shouldn’t a congressional committee have investigated that?

Reagan is not all that conservative either, as he claims. Isn’t he the one who once signed the most liberal abortion bill in California history and first to give the state income tax withholding? He actually thinks the Cold War is winnable, as if the Russians don’t have thousands of nukes pointed at us. He’ll probably claim next that the Berlin Wall will soon fall.

Reagan may be doing better than Carter did on the economy, but we can’t take that risk again with someone who is just too unstable and ethically compromised. I mean Walter Mondale is a choir boy compared to Reagan.

When the Republican Party has real talent with experienced and polished winners and true conservatives like Bob Dole, Jerry Ford, and George Bush, why did they stoop to draft a TV personality like the host of “Death Valley Days”?

No, the wiser strategy in 1984 is to vote Mondale or stay home. That will teach the Republicans a lesson about nominating wild men who think they can cut taxes, increase defense, and still see the economy grow—without these huge deficits, a recession, or all this war talk with Russia. After Reagan takes the party down with him, and we have a needed catharsis, then the pros and pundits can come in and rebuild it the way it should be—and we can all forget this TV actor nightmare and his “make America great again” buffoonery.

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America • Defense of the West • Foreign Policy • GOPe • Immigration • Post • Religion of Peace • Terrorism

American Empire Won’t Protect Americans

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A clear-headed foreign policy requires serious thought, not stale slogans. An op-ed by Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) in the Wall Street Journal headlined “Troops in the Mideast Keep Terror Away” exemplifies why.

After $6 trillion, 6,000 American dead, and 17 largely fruitless years, Crenshaw and Gallagher argue that America must remain in the Middle East in order to “prevent another 9/11.” But how? How does the American military spending $45 billion a year to kill semi-literate Pashtun tribesmen in the Hindu Kush prevent another 9/11?

Crenshaw and Gallagher assert that America must remain in Afghanistan because “‘far-off lands’ no longer exist. An ISIS terrorist can reach America after a 12-hour flight.” Ideology, they argue, “travels even faster, weaponizing the internet to influence vulnerable Americans and resulting in attacks like San Bernardino in 2015 and Orlando in 2016. The world has become a small, interconnected place, and America ignores it at our peril.”

This is too abstract. The common noun “ideology” did not kill Americans on 9/11. And what does it mean for the Internet to be “weaponized?” Did Google Chrome open fire in a gay bar in Florida or blast its way through the streets of San Bernardino?

Crenshaw and Gallagher’s lack of precision in speech prevents clarity of thought. The attacks they mention were committed not by phantasms like “ideology” but by living, breathing human beings. These attackers were not random, either. They were Arab Muslims motivated to kill by the preaching of radical Sunni teachings.

And they came here legally.

Every last one of the 9/11 hijackers came into the United States on legitimate visas. Syed Rizwan Farook, who committed the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, was a citizen. His wife, Tashfeen Malik, came here on a K-1 fiancée visa.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of Boston Bombing infamy is an American citizen. His brother Tamerlan was a legal permanent resident. Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, who killed four Marines and one sailor in Chattanooga in 2015, was an American citizen. Omar Mateen, who killed 49 and wounded 53 others in the Pulse nightclub shooting, was a citizen.

Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek who rammed eight New Yorkers in a truck in 2017, came to America on a diversity lottery visa. Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who stabbed 13 at the Ohio State University in 2016, was a Somali refugee. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called “Underwear Bomber,” legally received a visa into the United States for his fateful flight. The infamous English-speaking Islamic cleric who inspired many of these attacks, Anwar al-Awlaki, was himself an American who taught for years in Falls Church, Virginia, of all places!

Crenshaw argued in December that Americans “go over there” to the Middle East so the terrorists can’t “come over here.” This logic does not work.

As long as our immigration policies remain what they are, the terrorists will keep coming over here—no matter what we do “over there.” It doesn’t matter how many thousands of bombs we dropped in Afghanistan—that didn’t stop Omar Mateen or Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab or Sayed Rizwan. Killing random jihadists a world away doesn’t prevent other Islamic holy warriors from boarding a “12-hour flight” to bring death to our shores.

The only thing that can prevent that is immigration control—which Crenshaw, in particular, dislikes. In 2015, he posted on Facebook that Trump’s “insane rhetoric is hateful,” and that Trump was an “idiot” for proposing restrictions on the legal flow of migrants from the Middle East.

Crenshaw was too severe. How can the terrorists get here if we don’t let them in? Is the 1st ISIS Camel Division going to stage an amphibious landing on the Potomac? Will the 101st Pashtun Parachute Brigade drop out of the sky onto Fort Benning?

No, of course not.

Crenshaw and Gallagher argue it is “dangerous” to bring the troops home. America must maintain a military presence in the Middle East forever, it seems. They call it an “insurance policy” against terror. And yet it was American forces stationed in the Middle East, and near the Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia in particular, that played an outsized role in fomenting the Islamists against us in the first place.

Why must America continually intervene in the affairs of Middle Eastern countries like Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Israel? What good has any of this really done for American security? All the terrorists listed above attacked us after 9/11.

Crenshaw and Gallagher’s American empire will not keep us safe. It will only lead to more money and lives spent chasing a chimera. If we really wanted to stop the next 9/11, we would endorse a policy that prevents those most liable to commit such an attack from coming to the United States in the first place.

America is not an Islamic country. Prior to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, there were hardly any Muslims here at all. Their presence in large numbers in the United States is a matter of public policy. Deciding how many more people to let in is also a matter of public policy. There is nothing wrong with a people deciding to restrict immigration for the purposes of national security.

In a conflict against non-state actors, immigration restriction is one of the best tools the state can use to insulate itself from foreign-born violence. Borders, not bases, can keep America safe from overseas Islamic terror.

But arguing for such a policy is politically difficult. To raise objections to America’s current legal immigration policy status quo—endless immigration from the third world—is to risk political suicide. Support for the neoconservative project of endless American presence around the world carries no such risks.

Yet our national defense hinges on the triumph of common sense over slogans. Until that victory is won, America is in danger—no matter how many troops we station abroad.

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2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Deep State • Donald Trump • GOPe • Post

When Cabin Boys Attack

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Victor Davis Hanson is about as accomplished and credentialed a commentator you can find. He’s an author, a military historian, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and a farmer in California. President George W. Bush awarded Hanson the National Humanities Award in 2007. By all accounts and appearances, he is a decent, humble man who spends a great deal of time analyzing our current political moment and discussing what it portends for the future.

Hanson also is a supporter of President Trump. This heresy has earned him scorn from quarters on the Left and the so-called Right. His new book, The Case for Trump, has generated a barrage of criticism from the cabal of NeverTrumpers. Embittered by their humiliating miscalculation of Trump’s candidacy and shamelessly contorting their previous views to be able to contradict the president, these anti-Trump “conservatives” viciously attack anyone who dares to support the president. This includes Hanson.

In a particularly vile hit piece posted on The Bulwark, the new blog of Weekly Standard refugees who were left unemployed after the publication was shuttered in December, Gabe Schoenfeld accused Hanson of defending evil—that evil being President Trump. Bulwark editor Charlie Sykes recently threatened to “raise the opportunity costs” for pro-Trump commentators, Hanson specifically. To do so, Sykes enlisted the facile services of Schoenfeld, an advisor for the failed Mitt Romney presidential campaign, to pretend to write a book review that was little more than an ad hominem attack on Hanson.

Schoenfeld intimates that Hanson is a racist, an anti-Semite, and a Nazi sympathizer. The hit piece is filled with incendiary insults: Hanson, according to Schoenfeld, is “engaging [in] sophistry in the service of a genuine evil.” To make his point, Schoenfeld regurgitates well-worn and highly questionable examples of Trump’s own racist tendencies, including his 2016 comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel and widely misinterpreted remarks about “very fine people” on both sides at the 2017 Charlottesville riot. Without evidence, Schoenfeld claims there is a “drumbeat of racially charged remarks emanating from the White House.” This after Schoenfeld also alleges that “a day rarely passes without Donald Trump perpetrating a fresh outrage.” (Outrageous, certainly, to the prim fellows at The Bulwark.)

Schoenfeld gets basic facts wrong about so-called FISAgate—the purportedly “conservative” website has yet to post one critical piece about how the Obama Justice Department weaponized federal powers against a rival presidential campaign—and has since refused to respond to numerous social media requests to correct his inaccuracies. But his most vile accusation is to compare Hanson to historical figures who defended murderous despots such as Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin: “If such monsters could find admirers among the highly educated, it is unsurprising that our infantile, ignorant leader has found an assortment of professors to sing his praise.”

Now, one might feel compelled to give Schoenfeld a pass for his vitriol. He, like so many of his NeverTrump garbage-peddlers, remains astonished that Trump remains in the Oval Office and not behind bars for the many crimes they imagined he committed. After all, Schoenfeld fantasized on the pages of USA Today in February 2017 that Trump would be subjected to the 25th Amendment because he (Trump, though you are pardoned for wondering if I meant Schoenfeld) was losing his mind.

By participating in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, Donald Trump, Jr. committed an act of treason, Schoenfeld alleged. “By expressing a desire to accept the fruits of a hostile power’s lawbreaking, Trump Jr. and his campaign confederates revealed a willingness to do three things that no patriot would ever contemplate: further the interests of a hostile foreign power, collude with that hostile foreign power to subvert our democratic electoral processes, and rely on information obtained by that hostile power to undercut the fundamental protections afforded to Hillary Clinton (along with every other citizen) by our laws and the Constitution itself.”

This from the same guy who in his Hanson hit piece laughably dismissed the reality that “Hillary Clinton’s campaign . . . was tacitly colluding with Russia to manipulate the 2016 election.” (Pssst, Gabe. They were.) If Schoenfeld thinks that sort of conduct is traitorous, just wait until he finds out about James Comey and Bruce Ohr.

Hanson responded to Schoenfeld in a detailed and gentlemanly manner on Tuesday. “In careerist fury, [Schoenfeld] now damns others for his own self-immolation—as if the country must suffer for the sins of not listening to his own genius, which would probably have given the country a 16-year Obama-Clinton regnum.”

Sadly, Hanson’s colleagues and editors at National Review were silent about this vulgar and vicious attack against a man who undoubtedly has prevented the outlet from losing legions of subscribers given its mostly anti-Trump approach over the past three years. Aside from a few nonspecific tweets that linked to Hanson’s piece, no one has offered a strong rebuke of Schoenfeld or The Bulwark: It’s too bad that Hanson isn’t a Native American elder because in that case, perhaps NR editors immediately would have swooped in to defend him.

To the contrary, David French, a self-appointed referee of all that is good and moral and decent, appeared on Sykes’ podcast for The Bulwark five days after the Hanson hit piece was posted. French, a social media hall monitor who just changed his Twitter avatar to the fictional news anchor Ron Burgundy in order to scold people to “stay classy,” giggled along with Sykes on a number of topics, including this week’s mobbing of Tucker Carlson. But French failed to confront Sykes about Schoenfeld’s article, instead choosing to lament recent comments by another Fox News host about anti-Semite Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

The Bulwark and its enablers like French continue to do more damage to our political discourse while professing to elevate it. The depth of their intellectual rot is matched only by their witless political sense and their schoolyard bully tactics. But no doubt their leftist benefactors are proud of their work in the service of genuine social evil.

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Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Foreign Policy • GOPe • Post

Mugged by a Foe of Reality

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President Trump enjoys strong grassroots Republican voter support for his campaign promise to move United States foreign policy away from the interventionism exemplified by the Bush-Cheney years. Finding support for that promise among voters was one thing. Finding it among the Republican foreign policy clerisy and GOP establishment officeholders is another matter. Often Trump’s own vice president, Mike Pence, is in the establishment camp.

In 2017, in a forceful move to spur the president to send troops into Afghanistan, Pence reportedly aligned with establishment and neoconservative factions, joining now-departed establishment figures including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

Pence again showed affinity for “the way things are done around here” when, also in 2017, he appointed then-U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s pollster and chief political adviser—an inveterate NeverTrumper named Jon Lerner—as his own national security adviser. One day after the appointment, a wrathful President Trump forced Lerner out.

Pence also is taking an extremely high profile in the neoconservatives’ “all options are on the table” project to bring about American-led regime change in Venezuela. While the current socialist regime led by Nicolás Maduro undoubtedly is evil and a genuine change would be in American interests, it’s prudent to keep the United States from being closely identified as the patron of a new client regime that has poor chances of succeeding.

Pence therefore should have been rattled—and Trump rattled all the more so—by reports leaked from last weekend’s “off-the-record” confab hosted by the American Enterprise Institute for politicos and big donors.

In a session where Pence shared the stage with former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose role was to pose questions to his Republican successor, Cheney confronted Pence with undisguised asperity. Cheney complained, in remarks leaked to the Washington Post and others, that Trump’s efforts to distance himself from the Bush-Cheney record in the Middle East means “we have an administration that looks a lot more like Barack Obama than Ronald Reagan.”

For Pence, this should have been a bitter lesson that promoting neoconservative policies within the Trump Administration will not shield him from the hostility of the NeverTrumpers.

The transcript of the off-the-record session was leaked to the Post and apparently also to Politico.

Politico reported that “the weekend event attracted both pro and anti-Trump lawmakers, donors, and intellectuals including presidential adviser Jared Kushner, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) as well as New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger and former Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.”

Who was the leaker? While it’s impossible to say for certain, Kristol has a reputation as a compulsive leaker, and his hostility toward any sort of foreign policy realism is well known. Spreading gossip about a dispute between the two GOP veeps is a tactical gain for Kristol’s anti-Trump agitation.

Will Mike Pence at long last decide to distance himself from neoconservatism now that he has been mugged by foes of reality?

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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